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New Delhi,UPDATED: Mar 4, 2023 10:23 IST
By Daphne Clarance: Obesity has become one of the major markers of various diseases. A growing number of people across the globe are struggling with a variety of diseases, all stemming from obesity. As per a new report by the World Obesity Federation, more than half of the world’s population will be overweight or obese by 2035.
If not managed early on, obesity could have serious health implications and make a person symptomatic to the major life-threatening disease – cancer. “Having obesity is linked with a higher risk of getting 13 kinds of cancer,” as per US’s Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.
THE LINK BETWEEN OBESITY AND CANCER
The link between obesity and cancer is complex. In women, the fat tissue or the adipose tissue produces an excess amount of estrogen, often associated with various types of cancers like breast cancer, endometrial cancer and ovarian cancer.
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People who have high levels of insulin, particularly those who are obese, end up developing a condition called hyperinsulinemia, which is a cancer threat. This might lead to cancers in the colon, kidney and prostate.
“If obesity is unchecked for a long time, a person can develop 13 odd malignancies. It is important to lose weight in the early stages because later, losing weight becomes even more difficult. Then we have to resort to surgical methods like bariatric surgery to prevent diseases from happening,” said Dr Kona Lakshmi Kumari, Consultant Surgical Gastroenterologist, Minimal Access GI Surgeon, Metabolic & Bariatric Surgeon, Yashoda Hospitals, Hyderabad.
The good news is that obesity is preventable. The fundamental cause of this health condition is the imbalance of calorie intake and energy expenditure. Although there are multiple factors that can cause cancer, avoiding obesity is essential in lowering cancer risk.
The way to start by avoiding obesity is by keeping a check on your BMI (body mass index). Obesity should be detected early on, especially during childhood. According to Akash Chaudhary, Senior Consultant Gastroenterologist, Hepatologist & Interventional Endoscopist, Yashoda Hospitals, Hyderabad, childhood obesity is a growing medical concern, making kids symptomatic of cancer later on in life, if they do not check their weight.
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“Not every child who is obese has a larger strain but, due to the risk factor including diet, lack of exercise, family history and psychological factors, and even certain medications, can lead to increased cancer risk. It relates to diabetes mellitus, joint pain, asthma, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, high cholesterol, blood pressure, and sleep apnea disorders,” said Dr Akash Chaudhary.
Some ways to manage healthy body weight in children are:
- Set a good example at home as it encourages kids to make healthy choices.
- Encourage healthy snacking. Your diet should have more greens. Eat lots of fruits and low-fat yoghurt.
- Minimise screen time and let your kids go out and play.
- People who have a family history of obesity and diabetes should be extra cautious.
- Keep on calculating the BMI of your child. If they are prone to gaining weight, checking their BMI can prevent them from morbid obesity since action can be taken immediately.
- Canned beverages and junk food should be discouraged.
- Sleep well and increase physical activity.
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