A recent article published in the New York Daily News was emblazoned with the headline “Obesity Is Now the Leading Cause of Cancer.” According to the article, excess weight causes 1 in 12 new cancer cases and accounts for 8% of cancers in Europe. A report published in the September issue of Epidemiology (2009; 20 , 673–76) determined that pant and skirt sizes directly correlate to body mass index (BMI). Over the course of 13 years, researchers linked those with larger waist sizes to certain forms of cancer. Specifically, men with large waists had a greater incidence of kidney cancer, while large-waisted women were linked with endometrial cancer. “Our results suggest that clothing size is a useful measure to predict cancer risk in studies when waist circumference is not available,” stated the authors.
All is not lost, however, as fitness professionals are in a key position to help ward off the deadly disease. An article in the British Journal of Sports Medicine (published online July 28, 2009; doi:10.1136/bjsm.2008.056713) reported that those who participated in high-intensity exercise were less likely to suffer from cancer. (No information on type of physical activity was provided.) The Finnish study of 2,560 men found that an increase of 1.2 METs during leisure-time physical activity was associated with a decrease in cancer mortality. To ensure quality findings, the research was adjusted for age, alcohol consumption, smoking, BMI and caloric intake. “The intensity of leisure-time physical activity should be at least moderate so that beneficial effect of physical activity for reducing overall cancer mortality can be achieved,” stated the authors.