Duration of Obesity Connected to Cancer Risk in Women

According to a recent study on postmenopausal women in the United States (published in PLOS Medicine), the longer a woman is overweight or obese in adulthood, the greater her risk of cancer over time. The study looked at data regarding 73,913 women across the United States (data provided by an observational study group of the Women's Health Initiative), closely reviewing the women's body mass index measurements, physical activity, diet, smoking, hormone use, and diabetes history.  The impact of timing, length, and intensity of overweight and obesity on cancer risk in the women was examined.  The examined data spanned across 12 years, and diagnosed 6,301 obesity-related cancers among the group of women.

The research found that for every 10 years women are overweight or obese in adulthood, the risk for all obesity-related cancers increases by 7%, the risk of postmenopausal breast cancer increases by 5% and the risk of endometrial cancer increases by 17%.

Melina Arnold, a World Health Organization scientist and lead author of the study, states, "This study showed that the risk of cancer associated with obesity and overweight compounds over time, and a longer duration of overweight and obesity during adulthood is associated with increased risks of several cancers.  Furthermore, not only the duration but also the degree of overweight seems to play an important role in the risk of developing cancer, especially for endometrial cancer."

The study indicates that length of obesity has an important role in cancer risk and highlights the importance of obesity prevention at all ages.

Full Journal Article Here:  http://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1002081