Losing a Little Weight May Decrease Cancer Risk
Overweight, post-menopausal women who lose just five percent of their body weight reduce levels of inflammation that are closely tied to cancer risk, according to a new study published this month in Cancer Research.
The study looked to tease apart how diet, exercise and weight loss affects recognized indicators – or biomarkers – of inflammation. Chronic inflammation is linked to increased risk of cancer, along with heart disease and other chronic diseases.
Researchers first tested almost 450 women for several indicators of inflammation, including C-reactive protein, interleukin-6 and certain types of white blood cells. The women were then randomly assigned to one of three groups: one group ate fewer calories, consuming fewer than 30 percent of calories from fat; a second group focused on exercising, for 45 minutes a day, five days a week; the third group both exercised and dieted. A control group was asked not to change their diet or exercise habits.
After one year, the dieters with and without exercise who lost at least five percent of their body weight had lower levels of inflammatory biomarkers compared to the control group. Compared to controls, C-reactive protein levels decreased by 36 percent in the diet-alone group and by 42 percent in the diet plus exercise group. Interleukin-6 levels decreased by almost 25 percent in both groups.
Exercise alone did not affect levels of inflammation markers.
Source: Imayama I, Ulrich CM, et al. “Effects of a Caloric Restriction Weight Loss Diet and Exercise on Inflammatory Biomarkers in Overweight/Obese Postmenopausal Women: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” Cancer Res. 2012 May 1;72(9):2314-2326.