Obesity is a disorder involving excessive body fat that increases the risk of health problems. Obesity often results from taking in more calories than are burned by exercise and normal daily activities. A person is considered obese if he is more than 20% over his ideal weight. To calculate the weight, a person’s height, age, sex and build is taken into account.
Obesity also leads to cancer, because of diet, weight changes, body fat and lack of physical activity. Apart from the regular cancers like leukemia, myeloma, lymphoma, thyroid, obese people are prone to cancers like- endometrial, esophageal adenocarcinoma, colorectal, postmenopausal, breast, prostate and renal.
Causes of obesity:
- Lack of physical activity- sedentary life
- Overeating- diet contains high fat, like sweets, fried food, foods that have high calories
- Genetics- If one of the parents is obese, there is every possibility that the child can put on weight
- Diet with high Carbohydrates- sugar, desserts, soft drinks, beer, wine, – these release insulin after meals and so a person gains weight
- Frequently eating- People who eat two or three large meals daily gain weight than the ones who eat four or five small meals
- Medications-Medicines that are taken for depression, for diabetes, control seizures, oral contraceptives, and so on
- Psychological factors-People tend to eat more when they are sad, stressed, bored or angry
- Diseases-Hypothyroidism, polycystic ovary and so on
- Social Issues-No money to buy the required food, no place for exercise , Obesity is a factor for diabetes, heart disease and also to develop cancers.
W.H.O.’s Statistical Analysis on Obesity:
The BMI( Body Mass Index ) in adults was classified by WHO as follows:
- Normal weight-18.50-24.90.
- Obesity —30.00 and above.
BMI is calculated the same way both for adults and children.—weight(kg) / height2(m2)
If Weight = 68kg, Height = 165cm.( 1.65m),
Then, by calculation, BMI = 68/1.652 = 24.98
Types of Cancer Due to Obesity:
This is the strongest cancer in obese people. It general affects young obese people and women who have heavy bleeding problems. In obese women fat tissue increase the estrogen levels before menopause which leads to endometrial cancer.
In endometrial cancer patients obesity is combined with diabetes and hypertension, this is known as “triple syndrome of endometrial cancer.”
Treatment: The treatment for obese women with endometrial cancer is surgery- hysterectomy. It is curable for those who are in the early stages of the disease and is limited to the uterus. If unfit for surgery, radiotherapy is also suggested.
Obesity causes acid reflux problems and heartburn which leads to cancer. It also changes the levels of estrogen and hormones and raises the insulin and leads to inflammation and increases the risk of cancer.
Causes: Esophageal cancer starts when cells in the esophagus change in their DNA. Then it grows and divides controllably. These abnormal cells form a tumour in the esophagus and spread to the other parts of the body.
Esophageal cancer that has started in the food pipe, spreads to the other parts of the body.
- Tiredness and the feeling of being unwell
- Problem of swallowing and loss of weight
- Pain in the area where the cancer is
- Itchy skin, turns to yellow colour
- A swollen tummy
Treatment: Surgery, radiation therapy, immunotherapy compassionate and coordination with the medical team
Obesity – Breast Cancer Risks for Postmenopausal Women
After lung cancer, the second highest in the world is breast cancer and one of the significant causes is obesity. Premature menopause and premenopausal obesity reduce the risk, whereas postmenopausal obesity increases the risk of cancer, as obese women develop larger tumours.
Treatment: Surgery and after surgery, doctors recommend antiestrogen therapy- drugs
For more aggressive and rare cancers, radiation therapy and chemotherapy is also recommended
Prevention: Obese women should change their sedentary life style.
- Avoid gaining weight.
- Increase physical activity—exercise regularly
- Avoid intake of high sugar products
Obesity and Kidney Cancer:
Obesity is one of the causes for kidney cancer. Kidney cancer is increasing by 2% every year. Obesity is becoming the major health problem in the developed and developing countries. Kidney cancer starts in obese people because of the increase of abnormal secretion of adipokines, insulin resistance and higher estrogen levels. This risk is equal in both men and women.
- To know BMI
- Change lifestyle – more exercise, one needs to have more muscle than fat
- Blood and urine test to check our kidneys
- If diabetic, control blood sugar
- Blood pressure should be under control
Treatment: Surgery, Chemotherapy, immunotherapy.
Physical activity helps one to increase the energy levels and lose weight. But at the same time we should be aware that we don’t eat more than needed; and think that by doing physical activity we lose the extra fat in us, so we need to eat more calories. It’s true through physical activity we can reduce the fat around the waist and slow down the abdominal obesity.
The best exercises are:
- climbing stairs
- Effective way is walking
- Moderate exercise,150 minutes per week or 30 minutes per day.
Gradually increase until it becomes a habit. Any exercise moving the body and burning calories is important.
- Exercising in the water has more benefits.
- Stationary bike has a back rest so it is also good.
- Can follow different customized weight loss programmes.
Diet for Obese People:
- Fresh tomatoes and not canned tomatoes and ketchups
- Avocados have heart healthy fats and antioxidants
- Oranges are extremely nutritious
- Watermelon is low in calories and high in water content
- Strawberries are rich in antioxidants and Vitamin C
- Guava helps to maintain sugar levels, high in fibre
- Lime aids digestion processes and has necessary nutrients
- Lemons have Vitamin C and fibre
- Pears have fibre, are free of fat, cholesterol and potassium
Spinach and other green leafy vegetables, Mushrooms, Cauliflower and Broccoli, Pumpkin, Carrots, Beans, Chillies. These vegetables help in losing belly fat
The other diets to be consumed for weight loss are:
Lentils, Oatmeal, Nuts, Millets, Sweet Potatoes, Celery, Peas, Fish- salmon and sardines, Pumpkin seeds, Eggs, Whole grains, Sugarless tea, Onions, Herbs and Spices.
Awareness that obesity can cause cancer – Only one out of four people are aware that obesity causes cancer. Efforts must be made through media, seminars and voluntary organisations that obesity can cause cancer.