We can call it a disease, a condition, a state of weight, even a state of mind. We can offer all kinds of explanations as to why we have an ongoing battle with our weight. We can justify the pounds and are inability to sustain weight loss; we can complain about it, we can choose to live with it. But if we remain obese, we cannot deny the new studies that are linking obesity to dangerous health risks and health conditions.
The first of two reports suggests that there is a strong correlation between obesity and specific cancers. The American Institute for Cancer Research has released a new analysis of updated cancer data. Among their findings:
- Breast cancer - 33,000 cases yearly are caused by obesity
- Endometrial cancer - 20,700 cases yearly are caused by obesity
- Kidney cancer - 13,900 cases yearly are caused by obesity
- Colorectal cancer - 13,200 cases of cancer are caused by obesity
- Pancreatic cancer - 11,900 cases of cancer are caused by obesity
- Esophagus cancer - 5,800 cases of cancer are caused by obesity
- Gallbladder - 2000 cases of cancer are caused by obesity
The expectation is that several other cancers will be linked to obesity once further research is completed. Since we know that over 1/3 of adults in the US are obese, these new statistics are very alarming. Experts say that certain cancers like breast and endometrial cancers probably are linked to obesity through hormonal influences. The more you weigh, the higher the levels of estrogen which may instigate these cancers. Even insulin resistance may be a culprit that can cause diabetes type 2 and certain cancers.
The second new report has correlated swine flu (H1N1) hospitalizations and deaths with obesity, and it has become clear that obesity is a strong risk factor for a complicated and protracted illness with swine flu and with a higher mortality from swine flu. When a large group of patients were analyzed, 58% were more likely to end up hospitalized with complications from the flu if obese, and of those, 25% were likely to die from swine flu complications.
If you are seriously overweight or obese, these two new reports need to serve as a wake up call. Experts typically tell people who struggle with weight issues that you need to have your "light bulb moment" sometimes, in order to engage in a serious lifestyle overhaul. Well, it doesn't get more serious than cancer or death from this new troubling flu. How do you start? If finances allow, consult with a dietician or nutritionist and commit to working with them. Join a group like TOPS or Weight Watchers for education, a personalized program, and support. Start a serious walking program. Learn basic nutrition and exercise guidelines and begin to read labels, make better food purchases and get moving. Eat more slowly and learn to listen to your hunger and fullness perceptions. Obesity is a disease and it needs a commitment to long term behavior modification. Start today by adopting one healthier habit and take one step towards reducing your risk of cancers and flu death.