Cancer Risk Higher in Obese Older Adults

It’s chilly outdoors and the holidays are right around the corner, with yummy treats tempting us to indulge in foods and beverages that can quickly lead to weight gain.  As we age, carrying extra weight can not only sap our energy, cause strain on joints and create mobility problems but being overweight or obese is also associated with 40 percent of cancers in the United States.

According to a recent MarketWatch Retire Better article, the National Cancer Institutes of Health notes that obesity is linked with about 2 in 3 cancers among adults between the ages of 50 and 74.  Mounting evidence demonstrates a strong association between high levels of body fat and an increased risk for developing liver cancer (especially in men), kidney cancer, pancreatic cancer, colorectal cancer, and breast cancer in postmenopausal women with a higher Body-Mass Index. 

Eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, and limiting alcohol can not only help prevent weight gain and reduce the risk for developing certain cancers, but eating well can also help prevent cognitive decline and dementia.  Avoiding added sugars, fried foods, refined carbohydrates, nitrates in cured meats and too much alcohol can help reduce your risk for weight gain and chronic illness.  Focus on eating whole grains, nuts, legumes, fresh fruits, and vegetables along with lean proteins and healthy fats like olive oil and salmon. 

If you do fall off the wagon with respect to food or alcohol over the holiday season, don’t give up on healthy eating entirely.  Take stock of what’s in your pantry and start planning for healthy meals that will fuel regular exercise and help boost mood, your immune system, and overall good health.  The tendency toward being obese is a modifiable factor in overall good health.

Read more about the association between obesity and cancer, and how to calculate your BMI for your age group by following this link to the National Cancer Institutes website. For healthy holiday and occasion recipes, check out EatingWell for delicious and nutritious meals, dessert, and appetizer ideas.