DR. ISLAM: Motivation for the New Year

Last year has come to a close, and you may be reflecting on all of the memories you made throughout the year, the successes you encountered, and even the resolutions you didn’t quite reach. For many people diet and exercise are at the top of their New Year’s resolution list … every year. Maybe you’re in the same boat.

You might have even gained more weight this year and spent more money at fast food restaurants than ever before. Sometimes the failure to achieve your New Year’s resolution causes your motivation to dwindle and you don’t want to attempt it again. If you find yourself heavier than you want to be, addicted to foods that are not healthy, and too frustrated to do anything about it, you should seek a new perspective. Perhaps your motivation to lose weight and get healthy would return with full-force if you learned that obesity is a leading cause of cancer death second only to tobacco use. That’s right, your weight may put you at greater risk for developing—and dying from—cancer.

Prove It

The International Agency for Research on Cancer and the Center for Disease Control looked at 1,000 studies and found that people who are overweight or obese have a higher chance of developing 13 different kinds of cancer. In fact, the risk for cancer diagnosis is proportional to the amount a person is overweight. In the studies, patients were diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus, liver, gallbladder, stomach, colon and rectum, pancreas, kidney, thyroid, uterus, ovary, and breast for women who were postmenopausal. The C.D.C also noted in JAMA that of the adults diagnosed with cancer under the age of 65, half were overweight or obese. This is extremely sensitive but crucial information that we need to take seriously.

What Is Considered Overweight Or Obese?

It may be difficult to know which category you fall under, if any at all. Obese and overweight are terms that express your body mass index (BMI). BMI is a ratio determined by your height and weight. It does not reveal the amount of fat content in your body, but reveals whether or not you are over the recommended healthy weight compared to your height. Someone who is overweight has a BMI of 25-29.9. You are considered obese if you have a BMI of 30 or more. Outside of cancer, overweight and obesity also puts you at risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and many critical GI issues such as IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and GERD. As obesity rises in the United States, so does our need to take control of our bodies and do our part to avoid a fatal diagnosis.

Don’t let another year go by feeling discouraged about your weight and putting your body in greater danger for fatal GI issues and GI cancer.