Do you remember when the phrase, “smoking kills,” was on every billboard and commercial? After decades of marketing making smoking appear sexy and almost necessary, physicians began to realize the horrific effect tobacco had on our health. Last year, the CDC put out a report that showed 343,00 people died from cancer related to tobacco use from 2009-2013. Even though today the use of cigarettes and tobacco products are declining, there is another silent killer that greatly affects both smokers and non-smokers alike. The culprit? Obesity. Those who are overweight or obese have a greater chance of getting cancer that leads to death. At Caroline Digestive Health Associates, we want to give you all of the facts to help you understand the importance of maintaining a healthy weight so that you live a long life, helping your body avoid the threat of cancer.

The Link Between Weight And Cancer

The Center for Disease Control and the International Agency for Research on Cancer reviewed 1,000 studies and found that those who were overweight or obese experienced a rise in risk for diagnosis of 13 different kinds of cancer. The higher their body mass index (BMI) the higher the risk for cancer. This includes cancer of the esophagus, liver, gallbladder, stomach, colon and rectum, thyroid, pancreas, kidney, uterus, ovary, and breast for women that are postmenopausal. A JAMA report by experts in the CDC claims that almost half of cancers detected in people under the age of 65 are due to being overweight or obese.

Overweight Vs. Obese

How do you know if you are overweight or obese and at risk for major health issues? Both of these terms are ways to identify someone who is over a healthy weight for their given age and height. This is calculated by a person’s body mass index (BMI). A BMI is a person’s height to weight ratio. Someone who is overweight has a BMI that ranges from 25-29.9. Obesity is determined if a BMI is 30 or higher. If you are unsure and curious about your BMI, check out a BMI calculator to learn more. While cancer may be the most scary effect of overweight or obesity, it is not the only potential danger to your body. Obesity can also create a higher risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and many GI issues. There are several factors that play into becoming overweight and obese. Genetics is a major player not only in where you carry your weight, but your risk for having an unhealthy BMI increases if one or both of your parents is overweight or obese. Everyone’s metabolism and hormone activity is different and your body will respond differently to hunger as well as the way it processes food depending on this. While you may feel like these are factors you cannot control, the last cause of overweight and obesity is 100% within your control—lifestyle. If you have a sedentary lifestyle and tend to overeat, you’re inviting your body to experience obesity. While you may be tempted to feel discouraged by this news, there’s no need to live defeated. Being Overweight and obese can absolutely be managed, and even avoided, if you’re willing to do your part. 

Overcoming Overweight And Obesity

As noted earlier, lifestyle is the greatest factor that you can control in order to avoid being overweight and obese and potentially fatal health issues. Adjusting diet and exercise sounds simple on paper, but may prove be extremely difficult. Set a manageable goal for yourself and take every day as it comes. Plan for some form of exercise for at least 30 minutes each day. If it’s nice outside, take a walk around the neighborhood. Don’t expect to run a 6-minute mile, but say no to your favorite TV show until you’ve done a little cardio. Avoid fast food and eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. Eat whole grains and lean proteins like chicken, fish, beans, and nuts. Sub out your favorite soda with water. Add lemon or cucumber if you need a little flavor. Every sacrifice you make to live a healthier life will be worth it! 

Don’t let your bad habits control you and your weight leading you down a path of uncomfortable GI issues or even GI cancer. Carolina Digestive offers a non-surgical solution called ORBERA®. The ORBERA® Managed Weight Loss System is a comprehensive, non-surgical two-part program, approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to help patients establish healthier habits in order to maintain long-term weight loss. You can find out if ORBERA® is right for you on our website. If you have questions about how to manage your weight or have a family history of cancer, contact us at Carolina Digestive Health Associates today. We are here to help you live the healthy life you long for.