A Lifetime of Obesity Raises Gut Cancer Risk

by ProfKeith

Many people go through periods of weighing more than they usually do.

It can be caused by switching to a desk job, having a baby, or even going through a life event such as divorce or losing a loved one.  A reaction to a temporary period of your life from which you eventually recover.

Obesity and Cancer Risk

Over the last four decades, developed nations have seen a dramatic increase in overweight and obese populations.  According to the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive, and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), more than two-thirds (68.8%) of Americans fall into one of these categories.  Approximately one-third of children are also considered overweight or obese.

While some of those considered overweight could be due to excess muscle or water weight as well as fat – the latter is the most common.  In the case of obesity, it is an excess amount of fat within your body.

The human body requires a certain amount of fat (triglycerides, cholesterol, and essential fatty acids) to function.  It cannot be produced so it must be consumed in the form of food.

This tissue stores and regulates energy, protects your internal organs, distributes stored fat-soluble essential vitamins (specifically A, D, E, and K), insulates you from the elements, helps proteins build new tissue, aids in brain cognition, and so much more.

Fat cells take part in millions of biochemical reactions that happen inside you every microsecond of every day.  There is no doubt that your body requires it.

How much is too much? 

Throwing off your fat balance (too little or too much) leads to chaos in your brain, heart, digestive system, blood, hormones, and so forth.  Scientists have determined the fat ratio best for human beings to lower their heart disease, diabetes, and cancer risk factors.

cancer-risk-IG

Body Mass Index (BMI) Chart

  • 5 to 24.9 – normal weight
  • 25 to 29.9 – overweight
  • 30 and above – obesity
  • 40 and above – extreme obesity

Let’s be clear: some will fall below the minimum and others will go above the maximum for “normal weight” naturally.  This is a guide meant for most people (but certainly not all).

However, your body suffers if you sustain a fat percentage that’s too low or too high for long periods of time.  It’s all about maintaining a healthy balance.

Obesity directly causes or worsens the following conditions and diseases…

  • All-causes of death
  • High blood pressure
  • High LDL “bad” cholesterol
  • Low HDL “good” cholesterol
  • High levels of triglycerides
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Coronary heart disease and stroke
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Breakdown of bones and joints (osteoarthritis)
  • Sleep apnea and breathing problems
  • Cancer (breast, colorectal, kidney, gallbladder, stomach, esophageal, and liver)
  • Reduced quality of life
  • Mental illness (clinical depression, anxiety, and other disorders)
  • Body pain
  • Physical incapacitation
  • Excess inflammation that leads to auto-immune disorders

The increase in heart disease, diabetes, and cancer risk are particularly concerning since they claim so many millions of lives annually.

Researchers with National Cancer Institute in Bethesda recently published their findings in the British Journal of Cancer regarding long-term obesity and gut cancer risk.  They analyzed the patient data of more than 400,000 health survey participants.

They determined that from the age of 20, gradual weight gain until you are in the BMI’s obesity range triples your risk of stomach and esophageal cancer.

Understanding the link between lifelong obesity and cancer risk is critical since our health statistics are expected to worsen further over the next decade.

The authors explained, “This may provide insight of when interventions may be successfully implemented to reduce the incidence of these highly lethal cancers.”

Compared to those who maintained a healthy body weight throughout the course of the study, those who steadily gained weight had a 60-80% higher risk.

Dr. Jessica Petrick explained the findings, “This study highlights how weight gain over the course of our lives can increase the risk of developing these two cancer types, both of which have extremely poor survival.”

She went on to add, “It can also change the levels of sex hormones, such as estrogen and testosterone, cause levels of insulin to rise, and lead to inflammation, all of which are factors that have been associated with increased cancer risk.”

Maintaining a healthy body weight is literally critical to your health.

5 Quick Tips to Controlling Bodyweight

1. Police your diet (read hundreds of articles here on the site for guidance)

2. Exercise consistently (if not fanatically)

3. Control and eliminate stress (your own and that of the people around you

4. Sleep more (8 hours a night of quality sleep is powerful medicine)

5. Quit the garbage habits (smoking and excessive alcohol are pro-cancer)

Beating weight gain (gradual or sudden) happens one choice, one pound at a time.  Be good to yourself, love your body inside and out, and lower your cancer risk naturally.

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