New Study Links Obesity with Specific Cancers
Obesity has been linked to a myriad of health problems, including heart disease and certain forms of cancer. Now, new research suggests younger adults could suffer an increased cancer risk just by being overweight earlier in life.
According to a new study, overweight 20-somethings drastically increase their risk of developing stomach and esophageal cancer if they become obese later in life. Appearing in the British Journal of Cancer, the research evaluated more than 400,000 people. Ultimately it found that, while people who were overweight in their 20s had between a 60 to 80 percent greater risk of getting these two types of cancer, the risk tripled if they also became obese later in life.
What's the Cause?
While they caution that their study does not definitively prove that weight gain causes cancer, researchers say there is no doubt it does significantly increase the overall risk.
There are a number of potential reasons why long-term weight problems could dramatically increase the risk of stomach and esophageal cancer. For one, excess weight can cause heartburn and acid reflux problems, which have been directly linked to both types of cancer. At the same time, obesity can alter hormone and insulin levels, while increasing the risk of inflammation. All combined, these outcomes are thought to be the reasons behind the increased risk.
What You Can Do
According to the researchers, their study underscores the potential of weight control programs as effective ways to reduce the risk of stomach and esophageal cancer.
At the same time, by maintaining a healthy weight, people can also reduce their risk of stroke, heart disease, diabetes, osteoarthritis, gout, gallbladder disease, high blood pressure and sleep apnea. If you're having difficulty maintaining a healthy weight, talk to your doctor about healthy strategies for shedding unwanted pounds.