Obese Kids Face Greater Cancer Risk, NJ Doctor Warns
New data shows what many people have suspected for quite a while – that child obesity increases the risk of developing cancer as an adult.
Dr. Peter Gillies, the Director of the New Jersey Institute for Food, Nutrition, and Health at Rutgers, says “when you ask people what’s the health implication of being overweight – they’ll say diabetes and heart disease, but they almost never talk about cancer…cancer is one of the problems that’s associated with childhood obesity and being overweight as an adult.”
He says there’s no question that, “childhood obesity is on the upswing – 2 out of 3 adults are either overweight or obese – and 1 out of every 3 children is overweight or obese, and unfortunately here in the state of New Jersey we have a particularly high rate of childhood obesity- but there is some good news…if we can get them engaged in physical activity – something around 30 minutes a day at the very least … that we’ve got an opportunity to reduce that risk.”
Dr. Gillies says we now know that obesity and inactivity “can actually account for 25 to 30 percent of the risk of several major cancers, so if we can reduce the rate of obesity and increase physical activity – we can lower that risk…for adults, we’re now spending in excess of a hundred and 90 billion dollars on obesity related illness.”
He recommends that parents – instead of scaring children by telling them about all of the chronic diseases they may develop if they’re obese – act as role models.
“If they see you watching your diet, if they see you exercising,” says Dr. Gillies, “then you’re doing a tremendous favor for your children, because they will start to emulate your behavior.”