Increasing Waistlines and Cancer Risk

Americans’ waistlines are widening, finds a new study, even as our weight appears to be holding steady. The findings are important for cancer risk — along with other diseases — because while obesity is a clear cause of cancers, abdominal obesity may also independently increase risk.canstockphoto17693287

The study, published in JAMA, found that Americans’ average waist circumference increased progressively slightly more than an inch from 1999 to 2012. During those years, waists bumped up from 37.6 to 38.8 inches.

Prevalence also increased, with over half of Americans now having abdominal obesity. Prevalence rose from 46 percent in 1999 to 54 percent in 2012, among both men and women.

The study included 32,816 participants who were part of multiple national surveys from 1999-2000 to 2011-2012. Previous analyses of data from the same surveys show that obesity did not change much from 2003 to 2012, the authors write. Continue reading


Obesity Report: How Does Your State Rank?

Mississippi and West Virginia top the state rankings for adult obesity with Colorado again at the bottom, according to the new annual report on obesity that gives just a hint of positive news in another year of rising rates.

Click on image to see how your state ranks.

Click on image to see how your state ranks.

For cancer risk, the state of obesity is a major concern. Aside from not smoking, staying a healthy weight is the single biggest lifestyle factor related to cancer risk. AICR estimates that overweight and obesity increase risk of 8 cancer types.

The State of Obesity is the 11th annual report on obesity rates from the Trust for America‚Äôs Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. (The report was formerly called F as in Fat.) For each state, the report looks at obesity-related cancers as well as heart disease and other health disorders related to obesity. You can also see each state’s policies on issues related to obesity.

Overall, the news is not good: Every state in our country has over one in five people obese; in 43 states, the rates are one in four. Adult obesity rates increased in six states over the past year, and did not decrease in any. More than one in ten children become obese at ages 2 to 5. As of the last available data, 2011-2012, nearly one out of three children and teens are overweight or obese.

The report also found many disparities, with obesity rates highest in the South and among Blacks, Latinos and lower-income, less-educated Americans. A special report on disparities found that almost half of African Americans, 43 percent of Latinos, 33 percent of Whites and 11 percent of Asian Americans were obese.

Here’s the positive: After decades of rising obesity rates among adults, the rate of increase is beginning to slow, according to the report. And national childhood obesity rate has remained stable.

The report issues high-priority recommendations, such as focusing on healthy food financing and improving nutrition and activity in schools and child care settings.

You can see how your state ranks and its obesity-related policies on their interactive site.


Study: Obesity Increases Risk of Pancreatic Cancer Death Among African Americans

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Click on image for full infographic.

Among the population as a whole, research shows a strong link between being obese and increased risk of pancreatic cancer. Now a large new analysis suggests that obesity increases the risk of African Americans dying from pancreatic cancer, a cancer that affects African Americans more than any other racial group.

The study was published in Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention.

African Americans are diagnosed with and die from pancreatic cancer more than any other racial group, according to the National Cancer Institute. Previous research focusing on obesity, African Americans and pancreatic cancer included only a few study that gave conflicting findings.

For this analysis researchers pooled data from seven studies, including almost 240,000 African Americans. The studies all had used self-reported information to calculate BMI, a standard measure of body fat.

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