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Obesity and Cancer Risk: Our Expert Weighs in on New Report

The 2012 Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer shows that cancer death rates are still on the decline in the United States, but increasing obesity remains a concern. The report notes that for more than three decades, too much weight, too little exercise and unhealthy eating habits have been second only to tobacco as preventable causes of disease and death. Since the 1960s, the report says, tobacco use has declined by a third, but obesity rates have doubled. According to the report, 2 in 3 adults and 1 in 3 kids are overweight or obese, which places them at risk for not only heart disease and diabetes, but also cancer. After reviewing more than 7,000 studies, the report's researchers have identified six cancers associated with being overweight or obese: Esophageal adenocarcinoma, colon and rectal cancer, kidney cancer, pancreatic cancer, endometrial cancer and breast cancer among postmenopausal women. This review also finds convincing evidence of an association between lack of sufficient physical activity and increased risk of cancer for colon cancer. A probable association is cited for post-menopausal breast and endometrial cancers.The report notes that less than half of adults get enough physical activity. Youths get even less. In this video, Lorenzo Cohen, Ph.D., professor of General Oncology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, and director of MD Anderson's Integrative Medicine program, shares his reaction to the report, as well as suggestions for how we can take action now to reduce obesity and prevent cancer. The Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer looks at U.S. cancer numbers from 1975 and 2008. It's a collaboration of researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries, the National Cancer Institute, and the American Cancer Society.
Length: 02:11

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