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Friday, February 22, 2008

Losing Weight Reduces Stroke & Cancer

Being merely moderately fit — walking briskly half an hour a day — can lower the risk of having a stroke for both women as well as men.

Most people can reach that fitness range by walking briskly for 30 minutes a day, five times a week, said Hooker, who presented the findings Thursday at the International Stroke Conference in New Orleans.

Stroke is the nation’s third-leading cause of death. It occurs when blood flow to the brain is stopped when a blood vessel is blocked by a clot or bursts. Hooker said physical activity can help prevent blood clots and the buildup of artery-clogging plaque.

For their research, Hooker and his colleagues used data from a study of more than 61,000 adults at the Cooper Aerobics Center in Dallas. After taking a treadmill test, the participants periodically answered health surveys. The latest research divided the group into four levels of fitness and looked at how many of them had strokes, following them an average of 18 years. Overall, there were 692 strokes in men and 171 in women.

The study found that men in the most fit group had a 40 percent lower risk of stroke than the least fit men. The most fit women had a 43 percent reduction in their risk of stroke compared with women in the least fit group.

For moderate levels of fitness, the risk reduction ranged from 15 to 30 percent for men and 23 to 57 percent in women.

The lower risks held true even when taking into account other risk factors for stroke such as smoking, weight, high blood pressure, diabetes and family history.

Fitness is "a strong predictor of stroke risk all by itself," Hooker said.

Quoted from: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23291877

In another study, weight gain is found to increase the risk of cancers.

Being obese or even overweight may increase a person’s risk of developing up to a dozen different types of cancer, European researchers report in a new study.

Doctors have long suspected a link between weight gain and certain cancers, including colon and breast cancers. But the new study, published Friday in the journal Lancet, suggests it could also increase chances for cancer of the esophagus, thyroid, kidney, uterus and gall bladder, among others.

The subjects, both overweight and normal weight, were followed for about nine to 15 years, with researchers tracking their body mass index, or BMI — a calculation based on weight and height — and correlating it with incidents of cancer.

In men, an average weight gain of 33 pounds increased the risk of esophageal cancer by 52 percent, thyroid cancer by 33 percent, and colon and kidney cancers each by 24 percent, the research found.

In women, a weight gain of 29 pounds increased the risk of cancer in the uterus and gall bladder by nearly 60 percent, esophagus by 51 percent and kidney by 34 percent, the study said.

Quoted from: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23170572