Obesity and Cancer

Department of Family and Community Medicine, Thomas Jefferson University, 1015 Walnut - Suite 401, Philadelphia, PA 19107, USA.
Primary care (Impact Factor: 0.74). 10/2009; 36(3):509-31. DOI: 10.1016/j.pop.2009.04.005
Source: PubMed


Obesity has become the second leading preventable cause of disease and death in the United States, trailing only tobacco use. Weight control, dietary choices, and levels of physical activity are important modifiable determinants of cancer risk. Physicians have a key role in integrating multifactorial approaches to prevention and management into clinical care and advocating for systemic prevention efforts. This article provides an introduction to the epidemiology and magnitude of childhood and adult obesity; the relationship between obesity and cancer and other chronic diseases; potential mechanisms postulated to explain these relationships; a review of recommended obesity treatment and assessment guidelines for adults, adolescents, and children; multilevel prevention strategies; and an approach to obesity management in adults using the Chronic Care Model.

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    ABSTRACT: Obesity is a public health problem that has become epidemic worldwide. Substantial literature has emerged to show that overweight and obesity are major causes of co-morbidities, including type II diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, various cancers and other health problems, which can lead to further morbidity and mortality. The related health care costs are also substantial. Therefore, a public health approach to develop population-based strategies for the prevention of excess weight gain is of great importance. However, public health intervention programs have had limited success in tackling the rising prevalence of obesity. This paper reviews the definition of overweight and obesity and the variations with age and ethnicity; health consequences and factors contributing to the development of obesity; and critically reviews the effectiveness of current public health strategies for risk factor reduction and obesity prevention.
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