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Weight Control = Cancer Prevention

Trotz enormer Fortschritte in der Krebsbehandlung erkranken und versterben weltweit jedes Jahr Millionen von Menschen an Krebs. In den Industrienationen gehören Tumorerkrankungen zu den häufigsten Todesursachen. Dabei gehen Schätzungen davon aus, dass circa die Hälfte der Krebsfälle durch einen gesunden Lebenswandel vermeidbar wäre. Eine entscheidende Rolle spielt dabei der Verzicht auf Nikotin, regelmäßige Bewegung und eine ausgewogene Ernährung. In den vergangenen Jahren kristallisierte sich ein weiterer eigenständiger Risikofaktor für die Entstehung von Krebs heraus: Adipositas.

Despite tremendous advances in cancer treatment, millions of people are still diagnosed and die from cancer each year worldwide. Tumors are the main cause of cancer-related deaths in industrial nations. However, it is estimated that about half of cancer cases could be preventable through a healthy lifestyle. A decisive factor in this context is to avoid nicotine, engage in regular exercise and maintain balanced nutrition. Over the last years, another independent risk factor for the development of cancer has became apparent: obesity.

While the number of people suffering from overweight and obesity has continuously grown in many countries for more than half a century, the number of new cases of cancer has also simultaneously increased. Meanwhile, more than a dozen types of tumors have been associated with obesity.

Fatty tissue is responsible for the carcinogenic effect. Once considered purely as passive energy storage, it has been recognized that fatty tissue is very active metabolically and influences the function of the body, by means of neurotransmitters and hormones. It intervenes with metabolic processes, regulates appetite, hunger, blood pressure and coagulation, as well as inflammatory reactions.

The adipose tissue converts precursors of sex hormones into estrogens and, in addition, releases the hormone leptin, which plays an essential role in the regulation of food intake. If the energy stores are well filled, the fat cells release leptin. In turn, high leptin levels inhibit the feeling of hunger and diminish food intake. The release of the neurotransmitter adiponectin, which influences the metabolism of fat and glucose, has an opposite effect. Furthermore, the fatty tissue releases several other neurotransmitters, which have a modulating intervention in inflammatory processes.

Apart from the hormones produced by fatty tissue, obesity is equally accompanied by an enhanced insulin release because of increased food intake.

This interaction of high levels of leptin, estrogen, insulin and low levels of adiponectin, as well as chronic fat-mediated inflammatory processes, stimulate cell division and can consequently promote the emergence of cancer cells and their growth.

However, obesity not only increases the risk of cancer but also influences its progress. Investigations have revealed that the risk of death from cancer grows with increasing body mass index (BMI).

In relation to health, the adipose tissue is not equally active adipose tissue. The visceral adipose tissue in the proximity of abdominal organs is considerably more metabolically active than the subcutaneous fat and contributes more to the emergence of diseases. The increase of visceral adipose tissue can be manifested in the form of truncal adiposity or deep inside the body, where it remains completely unnoticed. This means that even people of normal weight may exhibit an increase in visceral adipose tissue and its associated negative effects on health. However, the process of measuring visceral adipose tissue often proves to be difficult and expensive.

The measurement of body composition by means of seca mBCA presents a reliable, time and cost-efficient alternative. It allows for the accurate determination of visceral fat proportions so that incipient visceral obesity can be detected and treated early on. Obesity is not only an avoidable cause of cancer, but also of cardiovascular and other metabolic diseases.

Healthy body composition is a major cornerstone for a healthy lifestyle and the prevention of a multitude of diseases, and therefore contributes to the long-term health and maintenance of the body.

Image 1 © “New Africa” / Adobe Stock

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