The new rules for defeating cancer
From The Times
November 1, 2007
Being even slightly overweight can increase the risk of a range of common cancers including breast, bowel and pancreatic cancer, a landmark study has found.
The largest review of links between diet and cancer, incorporating more than 7,000 studies, concludes that there is convincing evidence that excess body fat can cause at least six different types of the disease. The researchers give warning that everyone should be at the lower end of the healthy weight range.
Their recommendations include avoiding processed meats such as ham, bacon, salami or any other meat preserved by smoking, curing or salting and avoiding junk food and sweet drinks.
A healthy weight is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) below 25; BMI is calculated by dividing an individual’s body weight in kilograms by the square of the height in metres.
The report is based on an analysis of cancer studies from around the world dating back to the 1960s. The initial trawl produced half a million studies, which was pared down to the best 7,000. The results were analysed by nine teams and then presented to a panel of twenty-one leading scientists for their recommendations. They looked at cancers at 17 different sites in the body and at a wide range of factors, mostly dietary, that can affect risk of developing the disease.
People should aim to be as lean as possible within the healthy range, and that they avoid weight gain throughout adulthood. This might sound difficult but this is what the science is telling us more clearly than ever. The fact is that putting on weight can increase your cancer risk, even if you are within the healthy range.”