Current US data estimates that 2 out of 3 women are either overweight or obese. That means, of course, that the majority of women are at a higher risk for certain weight-related health conditions, particularly those over the age of 50.
A new study, however, suggests that women over the age of 50 could improve their health outcomes just by shedding a few pounds. And this is particularly true when it comes to breast cancer risk.
According to study author Lauren Teras, the results of the study suggest, indeed, that even just a modest amount of sustained weight loss could notably lower breast cancer risk.
The American Cancer Society (ACS) Behavioral and Epidemiology Research Group at the senior principal scientist goes on to say, “These findings may be a strong motivator for the two-thirds of American women who are overweight to lose some of that weight. Even if you gain weight after age 50, it is not too late to lower your risk of breast cancer.”
Tera’s research team analyzed the data collected from more than 180,000 US women –age 50 and older—across 10 different studies. The weight of these participants was assessed, periodically, over a course of ten years: first at the time of enrollment, then about five years later, and then again, after another four years.
The analysis found that the women who maintained weight loss had a lower breast cancer risk than those who maintained the same weight. Furthermore, the more weight a woman lost, the lower the associated breast cancer risk.
When compared against women who maintained the same weight, those who managed to lose between 4 and 10 pounds were at a 13 percent lower breast cancer risk. Those who managed to lose up to 20 pounds were at a 16 percent lower risk while those who lost more than 20 pounds had a 26 percent lower risk.
In addition to that, the researchers say they also found that the latter group—those who lost more than 20 pounds—but then gained some of that weight back (but not all of it) were still able to reduce their cancer risk.