AICR’s evidence shows that carrying extra body fat increases risk for 11 types of cancer, including postmenopausal breast and endometrial. Now a new study looking at how long women have overweight and obesity suggests that if women keep their weight steady and/or lose weight – even small amounts – that may help lower risk for several cancers, especially postmenopausal breast and endometrial.
Not smoking will lower your risk of many cancers. Getting vaccinated will lower your risk of certain cancers. And eating a healthy diet along with exercising regularly will also lower your risk of certain cancers.
It’s not that confusing.
If you read a widely shared New York Times piece going around this week, you would think that you shouldn’t trust any evidence when it comes to diet and exercise and cancer risk. That’s not true.
It’s not a single study, or even several. It’s looking at the entire body of research, systematically and thoroughly – what we do here at AICR – and what that shows is:
Weight gain tends to creep up on us: studies show that young adults typically gain about a pound and half a year. This might not be noticeable from year to year, but over decades it can add up to significant extra weight if it goes unchecked. Gaining weight can be particularly harmful for young adults, perhaps because it’s tough to lose weight, meaning these individuals live with excess body fat for longer. Excess body fat is linked to many types of cancer and other chronic diseases.
The good news is that young adults may not need dramatic changes to diet and exercise to prevent weight gain, as a study recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests. This randomized clinical trial followed nearly 600 young adults ages 18-35 for an average of three years. About half of the participants had BMIs within the normal range, while the other half were already overweight or obese. The study compared two approaches—small, daily changes to diet and physical activity vs. more dramatic diet and exercise changes—to a control group.