Society greatly wants to believe that all of our chronic diseases are genetic in origin.  You’re chance of getting or not getting a chronic disease like heart disease, diabetes or cancer is genetic and their is nothing you can do to alter it.  So why try?

Certainly genetics play a role in anyone’s overall predisposition.  But the way we treat the genes that we have trumps all and is the major determining factor.  All the discussion and research on genetic causes of chronic disease drives the fundraising for our major “advocacy” groups.

After all, if it’s your lifestyle giving you breast cancer and NOT your genetics, then what reason do these organizations have to exist?  Their entire advocacy could consist of a two page flyer on what to do to lower your risk and you either do it, or don’t.  Wouldn’t exactly cost billions of dollars, would it??

So we kind of nod and wink and say that, while the research isn’t solid, there is some suggestion that lifestyle plays a role in diabetes, heart disease, cancer and (fill in the blank.)  The focus is shifted from internal responsibility to an external locus of control (of which genetics is an external factor–it’s one you can’t control).

So what does all this have to do with this study?  Simple.  Carrying excess body fat around the middle unquestionably, without a doubt, unequivocally, positively increases your risk of most cancers.  Whether you have a genetic tendency or not.

In this study, authors looked at the methylation of 3 different promoter genes.  If a promoter gene undergoes a process called methylation, it essentially “turns on” that gene.  If that gene promotes cancerous growth in that cell, it’s NOT a good thing.

In those with higher waist to hip ratios, there was an 85% greater risk of having more 2 or 3 (of 3) of these particular promoter genes methylated.

Bottom line, whether you chose to make the changes to achieve and / or maintain an ideal weight, you have to accept the fact that an elevated waist to hip ratio WILL increase your risk of developing many types of cancer, with breast cancer being focused on in this study.

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James Bogash

For more than a decade, Dr. Bogash has stayed current with the medical literature as it relates to physiology, disease prevention and disease management. He uses his knowledge to educate patients, the community and cyberspace on the best way to avoid and / or manage chronic diseases using lifestyle and targeted supplementation.