While it is generally known that an active lifestyle along with a balanced diet provides numerous health benefits, there is very little data regarding actual numbers and statistics to be able to set a specific guideline.
An in-depth and comprehensive article published in the New England Journal of Medicine brings to light some very compelling information regarding the connection between obesity and cancer rates.
In 1982, more than 900.000 adults from all over the U.S. were examined, declared healthy and have subsequently had regular check-ups over the next 16 years. Out of the 404.476 men and 495.477 women at the beginning of the trial, there were 57.145 cancer-related deaths.
The records noted relevant information, like the history of smoking or heart problems, but also weight and body mass index (weight in kg over square of height in meters) using the categories suggested by the World Health Organization (“normal range”-18.5 to 24.9, “grade 1 overweight” – 25 to 39, “grade 2 overweight” – over 30).
The results were staggering. Those having a body mass index of at least 40, were reported as having death rates from all cancers 52% higher for men and 62% higher for women. The most common types were cancer of the colon, liver, kidney, pancreas. Additionally, men were more likely to develop prostate and stomach cancers, while women were more at risk of having breast, uterus or ovary cancer.
It is estimated that the number of cancer-related deaths from obesity is as high as 14 percent for men and almost 20 percent for women.
The numbers are shocking, but there is some good news. By maintaining a normal weight with a body mass index of under 25 and adhering to a balanced diet, one can considerably lower the chances of developing cancer and life a longer and happier life.