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A Weighty Message for Texans: Obesity Linked to Cancer

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 By Deb CoursonContact
January 20, 2011

AUSTIN, Texas - This is National Healthy Weight Week, and the American Cancer Society (ACS) is encouraging people to manage their weight by eating healthy foods and exercising. It's a combination the group says has the potential to reduce cancer risks. The ACS estimates that one-third of cancer deaths are linked to obesity.

About 35,000 people die from cancer in Texas each year, and it is estimated that about 29 percent of Texans are obese. Matt Flory, ACS' director of health care partnerships, says those figures create a real concern for his organization.

"That means that, without some changes in behavior, we're going to see an increase in cancers and an increase in cancer deaths."

The ACS says obesity is directly linked to risks of breast and colon cancer, and ten other cancer types. But general awareness about the relationship between obesity and cancer risk is lacking, says Flory.

"People recognize that tobacco use puts them at risk for cancer. They understand they should know their family history and they should get screened. But almost never, when you ask the average person on the street, do they think about their weight."

Flory says his organization has extensive resources to help people stay healthy. They are available online at www.cancer.org or by phone at 1-800-227-2345.

Information about obesity in Texas is available at healthyamericans.org. Cancer death data from the Texas Cancer Registry can be found at www.dshs.state.tx.us/tcr/default.shtm.

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