Media Tips: July 2012
An IU Health Release
- The skinny on obesity and cancer risk
- Fight cancer at the Black & Minority Health Fair
- Physicians call for obesity education legislation
- Sports injuries surge in summer
According to recent reports, 30 percent of adults in Indiana – or nearly 1.8 million people – are considered obese, meaning their body mass index is 30 or greater. And these numbers are expected to grow, putting Hoosiers at risk of developing numerous cancers such as esophagus, breast, endometrial (lining of the uterus) colon and rectum, kidney pancreas, thyroid, gallbladder and possibly ovarian, liver and some types of leukemia and lymphoma.
“We know that approximately two-thirds of all cancer deaths can be attributed to modifiable risk factors, such as poor eating, excess weight and tobacco use,” said Jane Ambro, cancer prevention specialist at Indiana University Health. “Maintaining a healthy weight is one of the most important ways we can protect ourselves and prevent cancer.”
But how exactly does excess weight cause cancer? Experts, according to the National Cancer Institute, have established the following connections:
Estrogen – Fat tissue produces high levels of estrogen in obese women which is associated with increased risk of endometrial (lining of the uterus) and postmenopausal breast cancers.
Insulin – Overweight and obese people typically have increased levels of insulin or insulin-like growth factors in their blood, also known as insulin resistance, which can promote colorectal and kidney cancers.
Hormones – Certain hormones produced by fat cells may stimulate or inhibit cell growth which can lead to tumors.
- Chronic conditions – Obesity-related conditions often increase the risk of developing cancer. For instance, the overweight and obese are more susceptible to frequent gallstones, which is a strong risk factor for gallbladder cancer. They are also more likely to develop Barrett’s esophagus caused by acid exposure which can lead to esophageal cancer. Chronic low-level inflammation, often found in obese people, has also been shown to increase cancer risk.
To interview Jane Ambro, contact Abby Gras at 317.963.0833.
Visitors to this year’s INShape Indiana Black & Minority Health Fair can help fight cancer with a simple blood donation. All blood donations at the Indiana University Health booth will go toward identifying genetic and environmental risk factors that lead to the development of cancer. The Indiana University Cancer Biomarker Study, or IU-CABS, is led by Noah Hahn, M.D., a physician/researcher at the IU School of Medicine and IU Simon Cancer Center.
In addition to the study, visitors can also pick up tips and information on prostate and cervical cancer; IU Health’s mobile produce program, Garden on the Go; and IU Health Neuroscience, which is opening a new center at Senate Avenue and 16th Street in August. The fair runs July 19-22 in the Indiana Convention Center, 100 S. Capitol Ave., Indianapolis.
Recently, the American Medical Association announced support for legislation that would require obesity education for first through 12th-graders in schools. Classes would focus on prevention, discussing the causes of obesity as well as the consequences and illnesses that are associated with being overweight, such as diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.
“Obesity is more than an appearance issue; it is a health concern and can lead to several problems called co-morbidities,” said Sandeep Gupta, M.D., pediatric gastroenterologist at Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health. “It is important we teach kids how to create and maintain a healthy lifestyle, just as we also teach them hygiene, how to be good citizens and how to be responsible.”
Although nearly one in five children – or more than 12 million kids – in the U.S. are obese, requiring nutrition education has never been proposed, according to the group. Dr. Gupta, director the Riley POWER (Pediatric OverWeight Education and Research) Program at IU Health, believes this legislation would have a positive impact on not only kids, but also adults and future generations.
“Empowerment through knowledge generates motivation, buy-in and changes in behavior,” said Dr. Gupta. “As children learn healthy lifestyles, they can take these messages home and be the instruments of change for the entire family.”
To interview Dr. Sandeep Gupta, contact Kit Werbe at 317.963.7692.
As the weather heats up and the days grow longer, Hoosiers are getting more active, heading outdoors for a run, quick tennis match or a round of golf. But after a long winter spent indoors, IU Health Orthopedics and Sports Medicine physicians are seeing a number of sports injuries related to overuse.
“I’ve seen stress fractures from runners ramping up too quickly in order to train for a race,” said Robert Klitzman, M.D., orthopedic surgeon with IU Health Physicians. “And sports like tennis and golf can cause muscle strains and tendonitis as people get back in the swing of things.”
While physicians can treat broken bones, pulled muscles and torn ligaments, taking it slow, focusing on correct form, and remembering to stretch before and after activity can help prevent injuries altogether.
“I always encourage people to be as active as they can safely be,” said Klitzman. “The key word there is safely. We frequently see injuries caused by 40-year-olds who still try to play like they are 18.”
To interview Dr. Robert Klitzman, contact Gene Ford at 317.962.4576.
About Indiana University Health Named among the “Best Hospitals in America” by U.S.News Media & World Report for 14 consecutive years, Indiana University Health is dedicated to providing a unified standard of preeminent, patient-centered care. A unique partnership with Indiana University School of Medicine – one of the nation’s leading medical schools – gives our highly skilled physicians access to innovative treatments using the latest research and technology. Discover the strength at iuhealth.org.