Authors of the research emphasize that maintaining a healthy weight, eating a diet rich in vegetables and fruit, and participating in regular physical activity are associated with decreased risk for hypertension, stroke, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and certain cancers, and could protect people against premature death.
In Ontario, Canada, the more than 2,600 new cancer cases diagnosed have been associated with excess body weight in 2010.
The highest proportion of new cancers resulting from overweight and obesity was found in cancers of the uterine, kidney and esophagus reflecting what the study authors say is a “relatively strong association with body fatness.”
“Overweight” and “obesity” are determined by a person’s body mass index (BMI), a measure of weight adjusted for height, calculated as weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared. BMI is classified in four categories: underweight, normal weight, overweight and obese.
An immediate result of an increasing body fatness, measured by the BMI, is an elevated risk of most cancer types, even when body weight is within healthy limits, researchers say. The risk for esophageal and uterine cancer, for example, increases by 50 per cent for every 5 kilogram/square meters increase in BMI; for a comparable increase in BMI, risk increases by roughly 30 per cent for kidney cancer and 10 to 15 per cent for colorectal cancer, post-menopausal breast and pancreatic cancer.
Unhealthy eating habits however, increase risk of chronic disease. Foods that are high in saturated fats, trans fats, refined sugars and carbohydrates contribute significantly to an elevated risk of chronic disease through weight gain, scientists stated. Meanwhile, high consumption of red and processed meat may increase the risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. And excess salt can result in higher blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart disease and stroke.
By limiting the time spent being sedentary may play an important role in preventing cancer, even among those achieving the physical activity recommendations. There is new evidence suggesting there’s a link between being behavior and risk of colorectal, uterine, ovarian and prostate, and possibly lung cancers.