Making Healthy Lifestyle Choices
1 min. read
We all know that maintaining a healthy weight and exercising is a path to better overall health. Studies now suggest an added benefit — preventing breast cancer. Women who are overweight or obese have a higher risk of developing breast cancer, particularly after menopause, studies have shown.
One study found that women who gained 60 or more pounds after age 18 had double the risk of being diagnosed with post-menopausal breast cancer, compared to women who maintained their weight over the same time period. Other research has reported similar findings.
This is because the additional fat tissue from weight gain and abdominal fat produce the hormone estrogen. High levels of estrogen are associated with the rapid growth of estrogen-responsive breast tumors.
For women at all stages of life, exercise is also important. Moderate or vigorous physical activity may prevent tumor development by lowering levels of insulin and insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I), and by improving the immune system.
“Women cannot control their genetic risks of developing breast cancer,” said Grace Wang, M.D., a medical oncologist affiliated with Baptist Health. “But they can control their lifestyle choices. Weight and exercise can reduce the cancer risk and help patients live a healthy life.”
Know Your Numbers:
- Excess body weight is thought to contribute to as many as 1 out of 5 of all cancer-related deaths.
- About 2 out of 3 Americans are overweight or obese.
- A healthy body weight is expressed in terms of body mass index (BMI). BMI is a number that is calculated by a formula that includes dividing a person’s height and weight. A person with a BMI of 25 or more is considered overweight. A person with a BMI of 30 or more is considered obese.
- Adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderately intense exercise, or 75 minutes of vigorous activity, each week (or a combination of these).
- Exercising regularly can help you lower the of developing diabetes, high blood pressure, coronary artery disease and cancer.
Source: American Cancer Institute
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