Just as we enter the season for rich and comforting home cooked meals, there’s more bad news about carrying extra weight, especially in older age. A recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report links being overweight or obese with an increased risk for 13 types of cancer. These cancers account for nearly 40 per cent of all cancers diagnosed in the United States and although new cancer diagnoses are on the decline since the 1990s, obesity-related cases increased by 7 per cent between 2005 and 2014.
Approximately 2 of 3 occurrences of cancers associated with overweight or obesity were among adults between 50 and 74 years of age. In 2014, about 2 out of 3 adults in the U.S. were considered overweight. And although many people are aware of other health risks associated with obesity including diabetes, heart disease and stroke, few people are aware of the increased risk for many cancers.
13 Cancers associated with overweight and obesity:
Meningioma (cancer in the tissue covering brain and spinal cord)
Adenocarcinoma of the esophagus
Multiple myeloma (cancer of blood cells)
Breast (post-menopausal women)
Colon and rectum
Colorectal cancer is linked with obesity but it is believed that screening for colorectal cancer is responsible for the decline in the number of cases; abnormal growths in the colon and rectum are discovered before they become cancerous. Between 2005 and 2014, colorectal cancers were down by 23 per cent.
Maintaining a healthy weight with regular exercise and a nutritious diet can help older adults prevent not only many cancers but a host of other chronic illnesses as well. To learn more about adult obesity causes and consequence, and for dietary and physical activity guidelines, visit the CDC website by following this link.
Not sure if you are considered overweight or obese? Check out the National Institutes of Health to calculate your Body Mass Index here.