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If you thought smoking, alcohol and genetics were your biggest cancer risks, think again…

by , 04 December 2014

You've quit smoking…

Drink only on special occasions…

And have checked your family history to find out what cancers you're at risk for so you can take special precautions.

But did you know there's one risk factor you haven't taken into account?

And it's a risk factor that new analysis from the International Agency for Research on Cancer shows could be among the deadliest of all. (In fact, it's one of the top causes of 17 types of cancer and the reason nearly HALF A MILLION people receive a cancer diagnosis every year!)

Thankfully, it's easy to get the upper-hand on this risk factor.

Read on to find out what it is… And the steps you can take to put yourself out of harm's way.

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BMI: When it rises, so does your cancer risk

Let me ask you two questions: 
  1. How much did you weigh at 18? 
  2. How much do you weigh now?
While this may seem like an intrusion, your answer could be the very reason your cancer risk is through the roof. 
You see, after analysing over 140 studies, researchers realised that for every 5kg per meter-squared (kg/m2) your body mass index (BMI) increases, your risk of developing 17 common cancer types – including breast cancer, colon cancer, kidney cancer and even leukaemia – rockets. 
In fact, the study showed that for every 5kg/m2 your BMI increases, your:
  • Uterus cancer risk shoots up 62%. 
  • Gallbladder cancer risk climbs 31%.
  • Kidney cancer risk jumps 25%.
  • Liver cancer risk goes up 19%.
  • And your colon cancer risk increases 10%.
To put those numbers into context: If you’re a woman of average height (around 170cm) and you put on 12.5kg, your risk of uterine cancer goes up by over 60%.
That’s pretty scary when you consider that the average person gains 500g every year – starting at their 25th birthday.  
So what can you do to reduce this risk?
Get your BMI down, of course. 
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Use these tips to reduce your BMI (AND your cancer risk)

The first step to reducing this risk factor is to know what your BMI actually is. And while there are a number of online calculators that can help you with this, the calculation is very simple. 
To calculate your BMI: 
  • Divide your weight in kilograms (kg) by your height in metres (m).
  • Then divide the answer by your height again.
  • And multiply this number by 10,000.
  • The answer is your BMI.
An ideal BMI sits in the range of between 18.5 and 24.9. Anything over that and you need to take steps to reduce yours BEFORE it pushes you into the dangerous cancer territory. 
Here’s what you can do…
#1: Cut calories and eat smaller meals. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, this is the best way to lose those extra pounds and lower your BMI.
#2: Eliminate high-calorie, low-nutrients foods from your diet. I’m talking about cookies, chips, ice-cream, fizzy drinks and other junk food. While delicious, these foods have little to no nutrition but they’re loaded with BMI-pushing calories. 
#3: Eat across all five food groups to ensure you’re eating high-nutrient, low-calorie healthy foods. 
#4: Get moving. If you do cardio (think running, walking, swimming or cycling) for 60 minutes a day three times a week. On your off days, do some strength training to target muscle groups and speed up your metabolism. Together, this can easily get your BMI down within the “ideal” range.
Bottom line: Don’t let something as avoidable as weight gain be the reason your BMI shoots up and takes your cancer risk with it. Keep your weight under control and you WILL live a healthier, happier life. 

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