• Study: Link Between Obesity And Cancer

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    It's almost impossible to get through the holiday season without gaining a few pounds, and for many of us that means we are even more likely to be over our ideal body weight. Sure, we all want to look good in our clothes, but being obese is not just a condition that affects our appearance. And in March, during National Nutrition Month, it's a good chance to talk about it.

    Weight gain happens when we take in more calories from food (energy) than we use up through our basic biological requirements and exercise. After a while, enough fat stores up and makes us obese. Our bodies are very efficient at taking in energy and storing it for times when it is hard to find, but in our modern environment this is working against us and our health. For most of us it is easy to get as much food as we want, and most of us do not need to exert ourselves much for work or daily living activities.

    Childhood obesity has nearly tripled since 1980, and one in five kids is now overweight by age six; 17 percent of children and adolescents are now obese. Unfortunately, childhood obesity has become so prevalent that many parents fail to recognize that their children are in fact overweight.

    While body acceptance is a good thing, it can also be dangerous if potent risk factors for lethal disease are simply ignored as “normal” in the process.

    As noted in a recent position statement on obesity and cancer by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), obesity is “quickly overtaking tobacco as the leading preventable cause of cancer.” To address this overlooked cause of cancer, ASCO has established a “multipronged initiative,” which includes:

    1. Education to raise awareness about the evidence linking obesity and cancer
    2. Tools and resources to help oncology providers address obesity with their patients
    3. Research
    4. Advocating for policy and systems change to address societal factors contributing to obesity and …

    If you or someone you know is a cancer survivor, talk to your oncologist. He or she should be aware of the link between cancer and obesity, Hudis says, and able to help you find resources in your community. The American Society of Clinical Oncology is recommending more research be done on weight loss in the cancer survivor population to determine the best intervention method — and whether losing weight after a diagnosis improves patient outcomes. The results of these future studies could help persuade insurance providers to reimburse patients for weight management programs.

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