Being obese (68.8% of U.S. adults are obese or overweight) and having a sedentary lifestyle opens the floodgates for many health problems and diseases, like cancer. It opens up to weight related cancers (like breast (after menopause), pancreatic, colon, kidney, and thyroid cancer, among others) and also lessens the chances of survival. A WSJ article highlights a recent report on the increase in the number of cancers related to obesity in the U.S., between 1999 and 2008, despite the decline in smoking.
Regular physical activity and maintaining a healthy weight is really the best way to decrease cancer risks. Even 30 mins/wk of leisure activity is beneficial for health – the hidden benefits include breast cancer risk reduction by 50% and colon cancer risk reduction by 60%. I have much better health, and feel much better since incorporating regular exercise into my schedule. Eating healthy is vital to healthy weight reduction. I eat 1-2lb of green veggies a day, avoid sugar and salt, and processed foods (especially processed red meat). Vegetable intake is especially important for African Americans, as breast cancer risks are more aggressive in African American women, who are also more likely to be obese than white women.
We have discussed the importance of sleep for health and weight loss numerous times. More sleep = increased activity + better food choices + reduced cancer risk.
It is important to get specific screenings like a mammography or colonoscopy. The recommended age for people with no family history is 50. I got a colonoscopy at 50, and it really did give me a peace of mind.
Fat-related cancers can be avoided with exercise, sleep, healthy foods, and routine screenings. It’s never too late for a lifestyle change!