Obesity is the mother of several diseases like diabetes, blood pressure, arthritis, sleep apnoea and the like, infertility and more, including cancers.
Stating that recent data revealed that only five per cent to 10 per cent of cancer cases are due to genetic defects and the remaining 90 to 95 per cent of cancer cases are because of environmental factors, lifestyle and food habits - for which obesity is a major concern, Dr Neha Prashant Shah, Lead Consultant, Weight Loss and Bariatric Unit, Westminster Healthcare, said, “Not many of us are aware of how obesity can be a contributing factor to this deadly and fatal condition.”
She said, “The fat tissues behave like an endocrine organ that secretes number of hormones which give signals to cells to divide more often. This results in formation of a tumour. Fat tissues produce excess amount of oestrogen, a high level of which is associated with the risk of breast cancer, uterine cancer and more. Those who are obese have higher levels of insulin and insulin like growth factors in their blood that boost up the development of colon cancer.”
Explaining further, she also said that the fat cells produce hormones called Adipokines that may stimulate or inhibit cell growth. Leptin, the hormone that regulates one’s appetite and fat storage and is more abundant in obese people, seems to promote cells growth more than normal which can lead to cancer in different places. Endometrial cancer, oesophageal cancer, pancreatic cancer, kidney, gall bladder, breast, colorectal cancers are all related to obesity.
Even though it is a preventable cause of cancer, obesity is responsible for one in every 20 cancers. “Being overweight does not mean that someone will definitely develop cancer. But if a person is overweight, they are more likely to get cancer than if they are a healthy weight,” said Dr C P Mohan, an Oncologist, adding, “We can help stack the odds against cancer by losing weight or avoiding gaining more weight. International reports state that people keeping a healthy weight could prevent around 22,800 cases of cancer every year.”
In India there are top six causes of obesity that one should be aware of. “Consuming high calorific foods such as saturated and trans fats and sugar, getting addicted to television and other hand-held devices that restrict an individual’s movement, weight gain among adults, especially among adult women in their menopausal age, several ailments like hypothyroidism, Cushing’s syndrome, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), excessive usage of certain drugs like steroids, oral contraceptive pills, antidepressants, antiepileptics, antihypertensives and insulin along with heredity or a family history of obesity are the major contributing factors that result in obesity,” added Dr Neha.
- Exercise on a regular basis for at least 45 minutes
- Avoid bakery products with high content sugar and fat
- Include more veggies, fruits and whole grains in diet
- Eat only two meals a day, instead of 4 times. Have soups, salads and fruits in between the meals
- Walk daily for 45 minutes
- Sleep for 6-7 hours daily
- Play outdoor games at least twice a week
- Focus on having more fruits and green vegetables. Inclusion of fruits and vegetables of 5 colours is a must
- Drink plenty of water
- Avoid sweets
- Prefer to eat home cooked foods