More Cancer Deaths Preventable by Losing Weight

Woman running on soft surfaceA new federal report shows that death rates from all cancers continued to decline in the United States between 2004 and 2008.

The Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer also reveals that several cancers could be avoided if people lost weight and exercised more.

Cancers of the colon and rectum, kidney cancer, endometrial cancer, pancreatic cancer, esophageal adenocarcinoma and breast cancer among postmenopausal women are associated with not being sufficiently physically active, according to a news release about the report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Health officials have been warning Americans to lose weight for some years now. The latest statistics show that 36 percent of U.S. adults are obese, meaning they have a body mass index greater than 30.

Fewer than half of adults get enough physical activity, said John R. Seffrin, chief executive officer for the American Cancer Society, in the news release. Children also battle weight problems and don’t get enough exercise.

“Obesity and physical inactivity are critical problems facing all states,” Seffrin said. “For people who do not smoke, excess weight and lack of sufficient physical activity may be among the most important risk factors for cancer.”

CDC health officials also noted that “excess weight, insufficient physical activity and an unhealthy diet have been second only to tobacco as preventable causes of disease and death in the United States. However, since the 1960s, tobacco use has declined by a third while obesity rates have doubled significantly impacting the relative contributions of these factors to the disease burden.”

Carrying extra weight and insufficient exercise is linked to other health problems besides cancer such as: cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes and arthritis.

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