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ATLANTA -- For anyone who needs one more reason to tip the scale toward a healthier lifestyle, the American Cancer Society has it: Being overweight is a risk factor for many forms of cancer.
A new nationwide survey commissioned by the American Cancer Society finds that while most Americans recognize the link of being overweight to heart disease and diabetes, just 8 percent understand that there is a connection between being overweight and an increased cancer risk.
The society is launching the Great American Eat Right Challenge on May 18 to build awareness of the link between being overweight and an increased risk of cancer, and to provide practical advice and personalized tips on adopting healthy eating habits, like portion control, as a way to help maintain a healthy weight and reduce cancer risk. On its Web site, consumers will also find interactive tools and giveaways. The promotion is sponsored by Weight Watchers International, Inc.; the Grain Foods Foundation; and Quest Diagnostics, Inc.
"While the problem of overweight and obesity in the United States has received much greater attention in recent years, cancer risk has often been missing from that conversation," said Carolyn D. Runowicz, MD, the society's president, in a statement. "Given what we know about the impact of excess weight on cancer risk, and given the trends on weight status in this country, we want people to be aware that their weight could be putting them at risk for cancer."
Being overweight is a risk factor for many forms of cancer, including breast cancer among post-menopausal women and colorectal cancer. It's estimated that about one-third of the 564,830 cancer deaths that are expected to occur in the United States in 2006 will be attributable to poor nutrition, physical inactivity, and being overweight or obese.
The society's Great American Eat Right Challenge Web site page can be found at http://www.cancer.org/eatright.