Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women, and obese women are up to 60% more likely to develop cancer as compared to healthy-weight women. A new study found that up to a third of breast cancers in Western countries could be avoided if women ate less and exercised more.
This is wonderful news, and has important implications for human health. Will women take the advice to heart and start eating less and exercising more?
Two-thirds of American adults are overweight-more of them women than men-yet fewer than one-quarter are dieting. In 2004, the Centers for Disease Control found that women eat over 300 more calories a day than they did in 1971. Fewer than one-third of Americans get regular exercise.
Most Americans, including women, are fat and happy. Of course everyone would love to cut their cancer risk by one-third-unless it means skipping that extra scoop of ice cream, or jogging three times a week. Reducing cancer risk isn't that important. Until you get it.
As Associated Press reporter Maria Cheng noted, there is a reluctance on the part of many doctors to make too much of this study: "Any discussion of weight and breast cancer is considered sensitive because some may misconstrue that as the medical establishment blaming women for their disease."