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Published on January 24, 2014

Being Overweight Increases Cancer Risk

January 24, 2014

Body Mass Index chartBeing overweight, and not simply obese, translates into greater cancer risk. Many Americans begin the start of a new year with weight loss goals.  For some, motivation comes purely from vanity and a desire to look good.  Others may simply be content to carry the additional weight year after year and choose to maintain, especially if their blood pressure and cholesterol are normal and there are no signs of diabetes.  Finding motivation to change in this population of the “healthy” overweight group can be a challenge.  But would knowing one more risk factor be enough to motivate real, lasting weight changes? 

Cancer can be an eye-opening diagnosis. Research has repeatedly shown higher body mass indexes (BMI) are linked to several cancers including thyroid, renal, colon, esophageal, multiple myeloma, leukemia and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Men with greater BMIs correlate with an increased risk for rectal and melanoma cancers. Gallbladder, endometrial, pancreas and breast cancer rates are greater in women with higher BMIs. 

Looking for a real motivator to change your lifestyle habits?  Could your weight management efforts today generate a desire to keep your cancer risk at a minimum tomorrow?  Take an honest look at your weight status.  What are some initial goals you can begin to help you progress toward a healthy weight?

Rebecca Sisler, RDN, LDN
KishHealth System Cancer Center

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