The American Cancer Society recommends the six most important things you can do to prevent colon cancer: have regular colon cancer screenings, eat a diet rich in veggies, fruit, and grains, exercise regularly, watch your weight, don’t smoke, and limit your alcohol consumption. Although most people view colon cancer as a disease that affects the older population, it’s crucial that we don’t wait until we turn 50 to start thinking about these things. A recently published study linking weight and the likelihood of colon cancer shows that these decisions need to start being made early in your life to make the fullest impact.
The study followed more than 61,000 Danish men born between 1939 and 1959. Their current weights, as well as weights as a child, were analyzed in addition to the occurrence of colon cancer. The findings showed that the participants who were obese as young as age 7 were twice as likely to have colon cancer as an adult when compared to participants who had been at a healthy weight since childhood. The most promising part of the study, however, showed that even if kids were obese at that age but lost the weight and kept it off, they weren’t at an increased risk of the disease later in life.
So What Does This Mean For Our Children?
As pretty much every doctor will tell you, it’s crucial that we teach our children to have a healthy relationship with both food and exercise. Starting children on a balanced diet from an early age is critical, as is making sure that they get enough exercise and are able to maintain a healthy BMI (body mass index). The CDC reports that one in five kids ages 6-19 are obese, a rate that has nearly tripled since the 1970’s.
What Can I Do For Myself?
If you have questions about the best ways to help prevent colon cancer, your risk factors, including if you were heavy as a child, contact Dr. Sameer Islam today so we can discuss your best options for screening. One of the most important tools we have to help prevent and treat colon cancer is through proper screening and colonoscopies. Although many people view colonoscopies as a dreaded medical procedure, they’re actually a quick outpatient procedure that we do in our offices and should be done regularly starting at age 50. Please call our office today to schedule your procedure or come in for a checkup.