What is obesity?
Obesity is a condition in which a person has an abnormally high and unhealthy proportion of body fat.
The way your cells work can be affected if you carry extra fat in your body, you may even produce extra growth factors and hormones because of extra mass. This can lead to the increased risk of different types of diseases including cancer. According to a study more than 5% are related to being obese or overweight in the UK.
Which cancers are affected?
Research has proved that obesity is linked to increased risks of following types of cancer:
- Colon and rectum
- Endometrium (lining of the uterus)
- Breast (after menopause)
- Oesophageal (food pipe)
- Myeloma (a type of blood cancer)
- Meningioma (a type of brain tumour)
The most common types of cancer in the list are bowel and breast cancer. Amongst all pancreatic , gallbladder and oesophageal cancers are the most hardest to treat.
What leads to people being overweight or obese?
If we make it simple, one suffers from obesity as a result of taking in more calories through the diet than he is required to burn through physical activity.
The reason for obesity varies from one person to another. One can gain the weight as a result of some diseases and/or drugs, the genes he was born with, individual’s behavior and choices or the environment. People can reach and stay within a healthy weight range only by eating healthily, in smaller amounts and becoming more active.
Why is being overweight linked to so many different types of cancer?
Fat cells in the body are dynamic and produce proteins and hormones that are carried into the circulatory system and around the body. Since they are spread through the circulation, these ‘chemical messengers’ can have an effect on a number of parts of the body, and hence can increase the risk of several different types of cancer.
Fat cells can also attract immune cells to body tissues. These immune cells release chemicals that cause long-lasting inflammation which can raise the risk of cancer.
How does being overweight change hormone levels in the body?
Extra fat changes the sex hormones levels, e.g. testosterone and oestrogen, in the body. This may increase the risk of cancer.
The most important part of your body utilized energy from food is hormone insulin. There is a large amount of insulin present in people who are obese or overweight. Although its not comprehensible as to how this could prompt to cancer, however it could be because insulin affects the levels of growth factors accessible to cells which instruct them to divide.
Belly fat has harmful effects
When too much fat is carried around the belly, it can be significantly more damaging. So-called ‘apple’ shapes are related to kidney, bowel, oesophageal, breast and pancreatic cancers.
This is not understandable as to why this is the case but it can be related to how fast some chemicals from fat can transfered into the blood.
A healthy body weight is important for children as well as adults
About 20% of the children become obese or overweight even before they start going to the primary school. Whereas, almost 33% remain obese by the time they leave the school. There is a greater chance that such children will grow into obese adults and obese adults are more likely to have cancer.
By encouraging your children to lead a healthy lifestyle, you can help them keep a healthy body weight as a child as well as later on in life.
By influencing your kids to lead a healthy life, you can help them to maintain a right body weight as a kid and later in life.