A 2019 study by the American Cancer Society shows that obesity rates in youth are tied to an increase in obesity-related cancers. The study revealed that the prevalence of U.S. children and adolescents who are overweight or obese increased by more than 100 percent between 1980 and 2014.
The researchers from the American Cancer Society looked at people ages 25-84 who had been diagnosed with cancer from 1995 to 2014. They found that during this timeframe, 6 of 12 obesity-related cancers increased significantly in the youngest age group (25-49 years). They noted that these cancers also increased in the older age groups, but at a much smaller rate.
Many cancers are linked to excess body weight. Increased rates of obesity at younger ages leads to longer exposure over their lifetime to the adverse effects of obesity on the body’s metabolism. Research shows consistent evidence that higher amounts of body fat are associated with increased risk for several forms of cancer, including: endometrial cancer, esophageal adenocarcinoma, gastric cardia cancer, liver cancer, kidney cancer, multiple myeloma, meningioma, pancreatic cancer and colorectal cancer.
People who are obese tend to have chronic, low-level inflammation. Over time this inflammation can cause DNA damage that leads to cancer. Furthermore, obese people often have higher blood levels of insulin and insulin-like growth factors that can lead to the development of colon, kidney, prostate and endometrial cancers. They also are more likely than people of normal weight to have conditions that cause local inflammation that are risk factors for some cancers.
While the fight against cancer has made great strides over the past few decades, these new findings unfortunately mitigate the positive outcomes gained in cancer screening and treatment. Obesity is one of the biggest public health issues today. Learn more about the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s efforts to fight obesity.
Since 1981, First Health Associates has been providing exceptional health care to residents of Arlington Heights, Mt. Prospect, Schaumburg, Buffalo Grove, Rolling Meadows, Palatine, Elk Grove and Des Plaines. First Health is an integrative medicine practice that offers: Medical Care; Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine; Counseling and Behavioral Therapy; and Chiropractic Care.
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