HOW OBESITY AND INACTIVITY CAUSES CANCER

HOW OBESITY AND INACTIVITY CAUSES CANCER

The ACS recommends maintaining a healthy weight throughout life by balancing caloric intake with physical activity, and by achieving and maintaining a healthy

Your food choices significantly affect your risk of cancer. Red bell peppers, chili peppers, and garlic are just a few of the foods containing cancer-fighting phytochemicals.

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Carcinogens in the Environment

Some carcinogens occur naturally in the environment, like viruses and the sun’s UV rays. Others are manufactured or synthetic substances that show up occasionally in the general environment but more often in the work environments of specific industries.

Ingested Chemicals The food industry uses preservatives and other additives to prevent food from becoming spoiled or stale. Some of these compounds are antioxidants and may actually decrease any cancer-causing properties in the food.

Overweight, obesity, and mortality from cancer in a prospectively studied cohort of U.S. adults. New England Journal of Medicine 348(17): 1625-1638.

Environmental pollution can raise the risk of heart and lung diseases, but it appears to account for only 2% of cancer deaths.

Other compounds, like the nitrates and nitrites found in processed meats, are potentially more dangerous. Although nitrates and nitrites are not themselves carcinogenic, they can combine with dietary substances in the stomach and be converted to nitrosamines, which are highly potent carcinogens. Foods cured with nitrites, as well as those cured by salt or smoke, have been linked to esophageal and stomach cancer, and they should be eaten only in modest amounts.

Environmental and Industrial Pollution The best available data indicate that less than 2% of cancer deaths are caused by general environmental pollution, such as substances in our air and water. Exposure to carcinogenic materials in the workplace is a more serious problem. Occupational exposure to specific carcinogens may account for about 4% of cancer deaths. With increasing industry and government regulations, industrial sources of cancer risk should continue to diminish.

Radiation All sources of radiation are potentially carcinogenic, including medical X-rays, radioactive substances

Wellness Tip

Regular exposure to charred foods, particularly charred meats, may increase the risk of certain kinds of cancer. If you regularly eat grilled foods, avoid eating charred parts. In general, it’s a good idea to avoid eating burned foods.

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