For those who are moderately to severely obese, there are many good reasons to lose the excess weight. You’ll have more energy, sleep better, decrease your risk of debilitating joint or back pain—the list goes on and on.
But one of the best reasons to lose excess weight is that you may greatly reduce your risk for many different kinds of cancers, including some of the most common and hardest to treat.
According to the American Cancer Society, being overweight or obese is clearly linked with increased risk of several cancers, including breast, endometrium (lining of the uterus), esophagus, colon, rectum, kidney, and pancreas. The link to other cancers is less well established, but many researchers believe they will eventually be found.
Here’s why: Your body fat isn’t just excess baggage. Recent science has shown that it functions as a metabolically active organ, producing hormones, proteins, and other substances that affect body chemistry. Research also suggests that excess belly fat stimulates cell division: More cells—more chance for cancer to develop.
We can hear some of you out there saying: Sure, losing weight would be good for me, but how do I make it happen? For one thing, keep it simple: Gradual weight loss achieved through exercise and eating a balanced diet of whole foods is the best way to improve your health and increase your longevity.
Consider your daily habits: Are you sitting most of the time? Spending more time with your phone or TV than you are outside?
Getting on your feet and outside means you’re more likely to be moving and less tempted to pass the time—or deal with stress—by eating food you don’t really need.
You’ll not only feel better, you’ll also kick your cancer risk to the curb.