Being overweight can promote cancer

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Being overweight can promote cancer: reducing your weight also reduces your risk of cancer.

According to the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg, around 450,000 people were diagnosed with various types of cancer in 2010. According to the head of the research facility, Professor Ottmar Wiestler, smoking as a risk factor causes cancer to develop in over 30 percent of cases. In the near future, however, obesity could replace harmful smoking as the main trigger. Experts are already seeing a rapid increase in cancer of the esophagus, colon, breast, kidney and pancreas. Among other things, these types of cancer are caused by being overweight.

A connection of the overweight is shown in the opinion of the doctor Dr. med. Dirk Raddatz of the gastroenterology and endocrinology department in the field of human medicine at the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen for almost all types of cancer. The only exception is lung cancer, where smoking continues to play an important role. Smokers weigh a few kilograms less, slim people are more likely to develop lung cancer than overweight people.

Adipose tissue plays a role in the development of cancer
Researchers assume that three to four percent of all cancer tumors are currently caused by being overweight. The adipose tissue seems to play a special role in the development of cancer. Scientists believe that adipose tissue not only stores energy, but also produces hormones or changes hormones in such a way that they promote cancer growth.

Obesity is a growing problem in society According to an OECD survey, around 60 percent of men and 45 percent of women in Germany are overweight. A total of 16 percent of people already suffer from obesity. Health experts warn of the negative consequences for health. "Severely obese people die about eight to ten years earlier than people of normal weight and are more likely to develop diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer," the OECD experts recently stressed. Even 20 years ago, the proportion of obesity patients was less than 10 percent. But since the 1980s, the proportion of overweight people in western countries has increased massively.

According to the current WHO guidelines, people are considered overweight if the body mass index (BMI) is between 25 and 30. Obesity occurs when the BMI is over 30. The BMI indicates the weight of a person in relation to their height and is calculated from their weight divided by their height squared.

The main cause of the rapid rise in obesity in the population is considered to be the unhealthy lifestyle in western industrialized countries. More and more people carry out their professional activities, especially when sitting. This inevitably leads to a reduction in general physical activity. The second most important factor is increasing malnutrition, which doctors like to summarize as "too much, too fat, too sweet and much too salty". Inevitably, people are consuming less and less fiber, too little vitamins and too little phytochemicals. However, these substances are mainly contained in vegetables, which also contain substances that protect against the development of cancer.

Reduce obesity and protect against cancer
The most important recommendation is to reduce the body size if you are overweight. In most cases, however, this goal can only be achieved if you completely throw away your old and harmful ways of life. A sensible and healthy diet should have a permanent place in everyday life. Such a lifestyle requires a fundamental rethink. This rethinking is a great challenge for many because they have to learn a healthy lifestyle from the beginning.

Nutrition experts advise eating at least five servings of vegetables and fruits a day. Because, as already mentioned, so-called bioactive substances are found in fruits and vegetables, which are very likely to reduce the risk of cancer. Instead of a lot of meat and sausages, it makes more sense to go with fish and poultry. Grain products - if possible from whole grains, legumes and potatoes should also be an integral part of the daily diet.

In addition to nutrition, daily active exercise is very important. An active lifestyle with a corresponding energy consumption prevents overweight and thus lowers the risk of cancer. The guideline is to exercise actively for at least one hour a day. It makes sense e.g. walking, hiking, cycling or jogging. If you observe all these points, you not only reduce the risk of developing cancer, but also that of diabetes or a heart attack. Numerous nutrition advice centers offer help for changing the diet. At the beginning of a fat reduction, it can be an advantage to develop a nutritional plan that you can follow. (sb)

Also read:
Being overweight as a trigger for cancer
OECD: Every sixth German is obese
Diet can prevent kidney stones

Image: Dieter Schütz /

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