Though the exact obesity-cancer link is not known, studies show obesity increases the risk of such cancers as breast, uterine, colon, kidney, esophageal, stomach and gallbladder. Some research has also shown obese men have an increased chance of developing—and dying from—advanced prostate cancer.
Get moving, get losing
Studies show that losing just 5 percent to 10 percent of your body weight can lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels and reduce your diabetes risk.
Experts recommend getting at least 30 minutes of moderate activity on most or all days to stay healthy, but you need 60 to 90 minutes on most or all days to lose weight. So, where do you start?
First, check with your healthcare provider for the green light to get started. Then, try these tips:
- Start slowly. Try walking five or 10 minutes a day for the first week, then gradually add to that time.
- Break it up. Carve up your workouts into manageable bites—a half hour here, a half hour there.
- Take the plunge. Water workouts won’t stress your joints. Check your local recreation center for water aerobics classes.
- Count tasks, too. Whether you’re vacuuming or lugging groceries home, daily chores that keep you moving count.
- Go the path of most resistance. Sure, the elevator is easier than the stairs, but walking up a flight of stairs can really get the heart pumping.
You don’t need to be told you weigh too much; you see the evidence every time you look in the mirror.
But a spare tire and pants that don’t fit anymore only tell one part of the story. Inside your body, a lot’s going on that could be sabotaging your health, from head to toe.
1. Stroke. Obesity promotes fatty deposits in the arteries leading to your brain, which can block blood flow and result in stroke.
2. Sleep apnea. Being overweight leads to a larger neck and narrowed airways, which increases your risk for sleep apnea—you stop breathing for short periods as you sleep.
3. High blood pressure, heart attack. Fatty deposits narrow arteries surrounding your heart, making your heart work harder to pump blood. That raises your blood pressure and increases your risk for heart attacks.
4. Gallstones. Obesity raises your cholesterol, which accumulates in the gallbladder and results in a higher gallstone risk.
5. Cirrhosis. You don’t have to be a heavy drinker to get cirrhosis, which is scarring and fibrosis of the liver. Excess fat builds up in your liver, which can lead to permanent damage.
6. Degenerative joint disease. Excess weight strains your body’s joints, wearing away protective cartilage in the knees, hips and lower back.