POST TIME: 7 September, 2015 00:00 00 AM
Obesity and cancer: are you at risk?

Obesity and cancer: are you at risk?

Obesity is quickly overtaking tobacco as the leading preventable cause of cancer, and although data are still emerging, research suggests that the risk of developing and dying from many common cancers is increased in obese individuals. Obesity is also linked to poorer cancer outcomes, including increased risk of recurrence and of both cancer-specific and overall mortality.
Ways to measure overweight and obesity?
Your ideal weight depends on many factors, including your height, age, gender, body composition (the proportion of fat and muscle), body shape (where fat is deposited) and general health. The most accurate way to determine if you are overweight is to measure the amount of body fat you have. However, because this requires special equipment, doctors typically rely on surrogate measures, such as body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference, to determine who needs to lose weight.
Height/weight tables
Height/weight tables are the most straightforward way to assess your weight, but they are not the best method. The tables are not based on scientific calculations of ideal weight. Instead, they were derived from the height, weight and mortality data of people seeking life insurance. Moreover, they do not take into account your body composition. For these reasons, height/weight tables are rarely used.
Body mass index (BMI)
The standard method to determine whether you are overweight or obese is to calculate your BMI, a measurement of your weight as it relates to your height. It correlates strongly with the amount of body fat you have, although it does not measure body fat directly. National guidelines define overweight as a BMI of 25 to 29.9 and obesity as a BMI of 30 or greater. Extreme morbid obesity is a BMI of 40 or greater.
BMI is calculated by multiplying your weight in pounds by 703, then dividing the result by the square of your height in inches. For example, if you are 140 lbs and 5 feet 4 inches tall, multiply 140 by 703 (which equals 98,420). Then divide this number by 64 inches squared, or 4,096 (98,420 ÷ 4,096). In this case, your BMI is 24. You can also find BMI calculators online.
Waist circumference
While BMI is a general assessment of body weight and disease risk, waist circumference provides a more specific indication of health risk because it measures harmful abdominal fat.
Evidence is accumulating that waist circumference is a better predictor of health risks than BMI. Even in people who are of normal weight, an increased waist circumference may be linked to an elevated health risk. In addition, in men and women who are overweight or obese, a large waist circumference increases the already elevated risk of disease. Fortunately, abdominal fat is often the first to go when you lose weight.
To determine your waist circumference, wrap a tape measure around your waist at the top of your hip bones until the tape feels snug without compressing your skin. Then, exhale normally and take the measurement. A waist circumference greater than 40 inches in men indicates abdominal obesity.
Source: healthafter50.com