Obesity Ups Cancer Death Risk in Asia-Pacific Region

But the risk conferred by excess weight is no higher than in the West, study finds

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WEDNESDAY, June 30, 2010 (HealthDay News) -- Overweight and obese people in the Asia-Pacific region have a significantly increased risk of dying from cancer compared to those of normal weight, finds a new study.

Researchers analyzed data from over 424,500 adults in Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Overall, those who were overweight or obese were six percent and 21 percent, respectively, more likely to die from cancer (excluding those of the lung and upper digestive tract) than normal-weight people.

The study also found that obese people were significantly more likely than normal-weight people to die from colon, rectal, ovarian, cervical and prostate cancers and from leukemia. Obese women over 60 were also significantly more likely to die from breast cancer than women of normal weight.

Despite differing dietary and other lifestyle risk factors, the study did not find "a higher relative risk for cancer mortality in Asian populations compared with Western populations for the same level of BMI (body mass index), as has been suggested for diabetes and cardiovascular disease," wrote Christine Parr, from the University of Oslo in Norway, and international colleagues.

They called for "effective strategies to prevent the increasing proportions of overweight and obese people in Asian populations ... to reduce the burden of cancer that can be expected if the obesity epidemic continues."

The study appears online June 29 in The Lancet Oncology.

More information

The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about obesity and cancer.

SOURCE: The Lancet Oncology, June 29, 2010, news release.

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