Study: Major Rise in Global Obesity, Bad News for Cancer Prevention

A major global report was released today on obesity and the news is grim. The numbers of overweight and obese people around the world have increased dramatically since 1980, in both developing and developed countries and among all age groups, with the United States accounting for 13 percent of the world’s obesity.obesity-and-cancer

The report was published today in The Lancet.

The findings bode ill for cancer prevention: aside from smoking, obesity is the single largest risk factor for cancer. AICR estimates that obesity is a cause of eight cancers, including postmenopausal breast, colorectal and ovarian. Obesity also plays a major role in other chronic disease, such as type 2 diabetes, which also links to increased cancer risk.

The study included data from over 180 countries. Study researchers systematically identified surveys, reports, and studies that provided Body Mass Index data. A BMI of 25 and over is categorized as overweight; 30 and over is obese.

The Lancet report estimates that worldwide, the proportion of adults with a BMI of 25 or greater increased between 1980 and 2013 from 29 percent to 37 percent in men, and from 30 percent to 38 percent in women. Continue reading


BMI: A Starting Point for a Healthy Weight

The health risks of obesity have been in the news lately, including in our latest report showing a link between obesity and ovarian cancer risk. The stories have sparked a lot of conversation about BMI (Body Mass Index), a number used to easily determine a person’s body fatness. Young man measuring his weight on weighing scale in clinic

Maybe you know your own BMI. But what is BMI and what does it mean to you?

The formula for BMI is:
weight (kilograms) divided by height (meters)2
or
weight (pounds) divided by height (inches)2  x 703

A BMI of 18.5 – 24.9 is considered healthy; 25-29.9 overweight and 30 and above obese.

BMI is very useful for studies looking at a large number of people and trying to determine if, on average, BMI links to disease risk or health status in some way. But for individuals, BMI is a starting point to determine whether your weight is in the healthy range for you. Continue reading


Obesity and Breast Cancer Survival: Talking with Anne McTiernan

Today’s issue of Cancer Research Update highlights a new analysis of the research suggesting that obesity links to poorer survival for women diagnosed with breast cancer. The research adds to a complex and evolving field of research on lifestyle and survivorship.Tiernan photo

The findings in this paper add to the body of knowledge, but they are not proof that weight loss in overweight or obese women will improve survival, says Anne McTiernan, MD, PhD, one of the authors of the new paper and a Continuous Update Project expert panelist.

Here, Dr. McTiernan — the Director of the Prevention Center at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center — talks about the study and what it means for breast cancer survivors.

Q: This study is the first to look at BMI pre- and post-diagnosis, and 12 months following diagnosis. Why was it important to look at these three points?

A: While it’s interesting to know what effect BMI before diagnosis has, women want to know what they can do now, for their future. So it’s important to look at the post-diagnosis period. Continue reading