Obesity and Cancer: Why stored fat bad for health?


ObesityObesity is the presence of excessive stored fat in the human body. It is caused when the calories you consume in a day exceed the amount of calories you burn. Basal metabolic rate (calories burnt during sedentary daily activities like sitting at your desk or sleeping), level of physical activity, and diet are also the major determinants which impact ones fat level.


Needless to say, genetics, body type as well as certain health problems can cause weight gain above and beyond these factors.

In technical terms, a person is considered obese if their BMI or body mass index is above 25. Various online calculators can help you know your BMI without getting dragged into the math”simply entering your height and weight will generate the value.

Obesity is linked to a host of health problems, including cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol, thyroid, diabetes, and bone and joint pain.


Do you have idea that being overweight could influence your odds of getting cancer?

Heres how:

Fat storage is caused by insulin spikes on the consumption of sugary foods and simple carbohyderates. This is synonymous with inflammation, a common yet potentially deadly event that provokes the growth, mutation and spread of cancer cells.

Inflammation is a bodily response that occurs during injury and infection. Its the reason a cut becomes swollen and tender to touch”its all part of the healing process and fighting infection-causing foreign bodies.

The problem is the inflammation that occurs in the absence of an external cause. The more visceral fat cells (that surround your vital organs, such as abdominal fat cells) there are in the body, the greater the chances of inflammation caused by the faulty destruction of dying cells, and the resultant formation of cancerous tumours. Long story short, binging on that box of donuts, or skipping your morning walk week after weekmay cost you in the long run.

Excessive fat stores in the body also trigger hormonal imbalance and lead to the production of abnormally high doses of estrogen, which is linked to the occurrence of breast cancer in women over 50, as well as several types of endometrial cancer.

The effect of fat cells on a womans reproductive cycle is also the reason that excessive weight is linked to irregular menstruation and diseases like Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). Other growth hormones can cause the rapid and uncontrolled multiplication of cells, which may cause cancer when unrestricted by the bodys immune system.

How to protect yourself from obesity-related cance

Obesity is a slow killer, just like the health problems it cause. It is easy to fall into the trap of a sedentary lifestyle today, where travel and jobs have requirements to sit for long hours.

Stress has us snacking more than we should.  Levels of smoking and drinking are at an all time high amongst the youth. High-calorie and high-sugar foods are readily available as an alternatives to healthy home cooked meals.

Being fit and taking steps towards a healthier life is a big challenge that requires time and discipline. But it is always better to start late than never, and slow and steady steps are bound to yield results over time.

How one can reduces the fat

  • Fix a moderate exercise session a few times a week, or aim to walk 45 minutes everyday. Now, with step trackers and health apps, it is easy to find the motivation to complete your target.
  • Taking the stairs instead of the lift or parking your car away from your office building are smart ways to pack in a few extra steps while going about your day.
  • Drink water or tea instead of soda and fizzy, sugary drinks. Water has amazing health and detoxification benefits, while also being essential to hydration.
  • Adding a few slices of fruit or lemon in your water jug will give it a refreshing flavor and encourage you to drink more water throughout the day.
  • Green tea has metabolism-boosting effects as well as antioxidants that fight free radicals that cause cancer.
  • Alcohol is heavy on calories, even more so when consumed with juice and aerated drinks. It also slows down your metabolism, harms the liver and creates an inflammatory reaction the body. Limiting your intake as much as possible is a wise choice.
  • Eat healthy meals consisting of high-fiber fruits and vegetables, whole-grains and lean meats or vegetarian sources of protein like lentils. Doing this will keep you satiated as compared to unhealthy snacks or finger foods while giving you the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants for a healthy body and narrow waistline.
  • Follow a consistent sleep cycle. This will regulate your cortisol levels (that affect metabolism, and hence, body weight).
  • Avoid canned, packaged and junk food. They lack essential nutrients and are often cooked and stored using chemicals to prolong their shelf life, doing no favours for your weight or overall health.
  • Dont lose hope. Consistent practice of healthy habits will contribute to a better lifestyle and a happy body and mind, while helping you lose weight and keeping obesity-related diseases at bay.

(Disclaimer: The writer is DrAnuVerma, Resident Medical Officer- ICD Healthcare. The views expressed are personal opinion.)

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