Obesity Is The Second Biggest Cause Of Cancer
Studies have shown that after smoking, obesity is the second biggest cause of cancer. Find out here how being overweight can affect your health.
Recent statistics from the National Institutes of Health show that over 70% of American adults are overweight or obese. The numbers regarding the children are just as alarming: 1 in 6 children aged 2-19 are considered obese.
Research has shown that obesity causes cancer.
Obesity comes with many consequences like high blood pressure, diabetes or heart diseases. Additionally, according to the American Association of Cancer Research, there is a strong link between obesity and cancer.
How does obesity cause cancer?
Obesity is an abnormal physiological state, associated with insulin resistance, subclinical inflammation, and alterations in the proteins secreted by the fat tissue. All these characteristics of obesity are related to cancer.
When you are overweight, your fat tissue grows substantially. You eat more than your body needs, so your fat cells expand in order to store the excess calories. This expansion can lead to cellular damage, which affects your immune system, causing low-level inflammation.
Obesity causes changes in the proteins produced by your fat cells. They secrete cytokines (signaling molecules) that promote inflammation, causing a continual inflammatory microenvironment in those who are obese.
Chronic inflammation can foster the tumor microenvironment, promoting the reproduction and survival of cancer cells. Basically, while trying to combat the damaged fat cells, your immune system lays the groundwork for cancer cells to grow and thrive.
What can you do to prevent cancer?
If you are overweight, it may be the time to make some changes to your lifestyle.
Start eating healthier and make sure you stay away from sugar, fried food, alcohol, and cigarettes. Drink plenty of water, stay away from sugary drinks and never skip breakfast.
People who are overweight are not used to working out, so if that's your case, too, start easy with a 20-minute walk every day. After you get used to it, you can start jogging or even hit the gym for a more difficult work-out. If you think you need help, make an appointment with a nutritionist who can help you get rid of those extra kilos. Luckily, obesity doesn't have to be permanent and it can be reversed before leading to something as awful as cancer.
If you're a parent, be very careful about how you raise your child. Early obesity is serious and even harder to overcome.