Women who eat poorly and who don't effectively burn off the extra pounds by exercising face a significant breast cancer risk, according to a study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomakers and Prevention.
Researchers in China and the United States concluded from a study of about 3,000 women that those who weren't knocking off calories through activity were more than twice as likely to develop breast cancer than those who kept their weight in check by being active.
"In general, women with lower exercise/sport activity levels(s) and higher Body Mass Index (BMI) were at an increased risk (of breast cancer) compared with women who reported more exercise/sport and had lower BMIs," notes the study,
The researchers pointed out that it isn't merely overeating that boosts the breast cancer risk, but the potentially lethal combination of overeating and being inactive. Postmenopausal women who demosntrated this combination had almost five times the risk of developing breast cancer.
The study, led by Dr. Alecia Malin and colleagues from Vanderbilt University in Tennessee and researchers at the Shanghai Cancer Institute in China, examined 1,459 women with breast cancer and 1,556 women around the same age who did not have the condition. The women, all residents of Shanghai, were interviewed about their dietary habits, physical activity regimens, and breast cancer risk factors.
The investigators found that women at the highest risk were overweight (based on BMI values), were fairly inactive and had higher caloric intakes. Women who were relatively overweight but were physically active, did not appear to have a higher risk. And women who were relatively thin but did not exercise, also appeared not to be more likely of developing the disease.
Malin empahsizes that these findings should signal to women the importance of eating well and exercising in order to be healthy.
"Our study suggests that (the) promotion of behaviour patterns that optimize energy balance (weight control and increasing physical activity) may be a viable option for breast cancer prevention," the study recommends.
Other research conducted by fellow study author Charles E. Matthews revealed that the unhealthy energy balance of eating more than you can work off also put women at a higher risk of endometrial cancer.
Did you find what you were looking for on our website? Please let us know.