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Unformatted text preview: © 2002 The International Association for the Study of Obesity. obesity reviews 3 , 5–8 5 Weight control and physical activity in cancer prevention Evidence for cancer prevention by avoidance of weight gain and physical activity The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) of the World Health Organization (WHO) convened in Lyon on 13–20 February 2001 a panel of international experts, to discuss the role of overweight, obesity and lack of physical activity in cancer control. The full review and the evaluation on the cancer-preventive activity will be pub- lished as the IARC Handbooks of Cancer Prevention, Volume 6 (5). The working group reviewed available large-size case- control and prospective cohort studies about associations of cancer risk with excess body weight and with physical activity. These studies have been conducted mainly in industrialized countries, but also in less industrialized regions, especially in Asia. Based on this detailed review, it was judged that there was sufficient evidence (a causal rela- tionship has been established) showing that excess body weight increases the risk of cancers of the colon, breast in postmenopausal women, endometrium, kidney (renal cell tumours), and adenocarcinomas of the oesophagus obesity reviews International Agency for Research on Cancer, 150 cours Albert Thomas, 69372 Lyon Cedex 08, France Received 23 May 2001; revised 1 August 2001; accepted 8 August 2001 Address reprint requests to: Franca Bianchini, International Agency for Research on Cancer, 150 cours Albert Thomas, 69372 Lyon Cedex 08, France. E-mail: Bianchini@iarc.fr Franca Bianchini, Rudolf Kaaks and Harri Vainio Summary Overweight and obesity have reached epidemic dimensions worldwide, mainly due to consumption of high energy diets and increased sedentary behaviour. Over- weight and insufficient physical activity are clearly associated with cardiovascu- lar diseases and type 2 diabetes. Evidence is also accumulating that they may also increase cancer risk, particularly in the colon, breast and endometrium. This effect seems to be mediated by alterations in the metabolism of endogenous hormones, including sex steroids and insulin, and levels of insulin-like growth factor(IGF)-I and IGF-binding proteins. In light of the beneficial effects of weight control and physical activity for cancer prevention, a healthy lifestyle, keeping a low body weight and exercising most days of the week, is recommended. Keywords : Obesity, overweight, physical activity, cancer. obesity reviews (2002) 3 , 5–8 Global epidemic of excess weight In many regions of the world, the prevalence of overweight (body mass index (BMI) between 25 and 30kgm- 2 ) and obesity (BMI of 30 or higher) has become increasingly common over the last two decades and in some Western countries it has reached epidemic dimensions. In Europe, about half the adult population is now overweight (1) and a similar prevalence of overweight has been found in urban areas of many developing countries (2,3). The prevalenceareas of many developing countries (2,3)....
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