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Obesity may promote cancer

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An article published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention, points out that insulin and glucose metabolism disorders can increase the risk of cancers linked to obesity. Scientists estimate that one third of cancer cases that will occur in the future will be related to obesity and disorders of glucose metabolism. In other words, physical inactivity and poor nutrition will significantly influence the health of people.

We already know that obesity is a significant risk factor for cardiovascular disease. What is less known is that obesity is correlated with certain cancers such as colon cancer or breast cancer ( postmenopausal ). Therefore, experts recommend a healthy lifestyle that includes sustained exercise and a healthy diet.


Nutritional epidemiologist Niyati Parekh , Assistant Professor of Public Health Nutrition Within NYU Steinhardt ‘s Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health and NYU Langone ‘s Department of Population Health, said that there is increasingly more evidence suggesting that body fat is linked with cancer of the esophagus, pancreas, colorectal, breast and other types of cancers. A sedentary lifestyle and poor nutrition cause an increase in weight and therefore an increase in the amount of body fat, and this in turn promotes cancer development.  “A sedentary lifestyle “ that is a lack of physical activity “ and poor diet contributes to increased body fat and produces an overall environment within the body that is conducive to cancer development”

It is known that obesity disturbs insulin metabolism. According to Parekh,  individuals who are obese are more likely to have high concentrations of glucose and insulin, which is an undesirable condition because it stimulates cancer growth. She explained that in individuals with elevated levels of insulin and glucose, processes like growth, rapid multiplication and spread of tumor cells are enhanced compared to individuals without such abnormalities.

The research conducted by Parekh used information from the Framingham Heart Study, a well-known 60-year study that was conducted to identify risk factors for cardiovascular disease . There were followed three generations of individuals and thus there were collected demographic data, information on diet, medical history, blood analyses etc. Study participants were interviewed in person and questioned by regular checkups every four years.

Parekh said that what is interesting from these results is that they may be able to develop certain guidelines and strategies for the prevention of obesity-related cancers: “Based on our findings, we recommend lifestyle that may alleviate disturbances in inulin and glucose, as a cancer control tool in the context of the nation’s obesity problem.”