Sunday, February 17, 2008

Excess weight and cancer risk

I woke up later than usual this a.m. (my morning lark has migrated south these gray, snowy days). The thought of racing around to get ready for step aerobics was nearly more than I could face.

Face it I did, and this research report from the current issue of The Lancet(1) makes me glad that I ventured forth. Epidemiologists from the Universities of Manchester and Bern knew that obesity increased the risks of some cancers. Using 41 years of data found on MEDLINE and Embase, they correlated incidence of 20 cancers with BMI(2).

They found that the risk of excess poundage relative to cancer varied with sex. For the overweight guys, every 5 point increment in BMI significantly raised the risk of esophageal, thyroid, colon, and renal cancers. For women, esophageal, gallbladder, endometrial, and renal cancers were most strongly associated with increasing weight.

Lest you think achieving a 5 point drop in your BMI is a daunting task, I accomplished that 6 years ago with a single one hour kickboxing class per week. Just sixty minutes of a hot, sweaty workout each week. Research suggests that the best way to shake pesky, longterm fat off is with high intensity exercise.
1) The Lancet 2008; 371:569-578.
2) To calculate your BMI, divide your weight in kilograms by your height in meters squared. Got it? If that is too much for you to face this snowy Sunday, let someone else do it at BMI calculator.


Ruth said...

You are an inspiration to me and good example to your patients.

Mauigirl said...

Sigh...I know I need to lose weight and exercise. Easier said than done! It takes determination which I lack at the moment. I hope to get it back at some point when life is less stressful!

Cilicious said...

It *is* hard to get up when it is gloomy outside.
My in-laws, who were overweight, died of pancreas and liver cancer respectively. I always wondered if their weight contributed to their relatively early (she was only 68) deaths.
According to my BMI I am barely above underweight.

Anonymous said...

It's your brother here. How many different reasons do people need to be thin? Are there any advantages to being overweight? With regard to your most recent post, you have previously reported,
that one study concluded "The effects of alcohol on liver injury are limited to overweight and obese people."

Mauigirl said...

I believe that people who are somewhat overweight have better survival than underweight people when they have serious illnesses. Don't quote me as I haven't looked it up but it's either illnesses or in old age. There are sometimes reasons weight can be helpful. But you're right, overall, not so much!