Colorectal Cancer Rates Driven by Obesity, Lifestyle Factors

The increasing popularity of the high-calorie, high-fat, low-fiber diet and other lifestyle factors common to Westernized nations is causing a dramatic increase in colorectal cancer rates around the globe.

obesity driving colorectal cancer ratesAh, life in America: lots of high-calorie, high-fat, low-fiber food, plenty of couch time to catch up on TV, and lots of driving around. Our pampered lifestyle has permeated the globe. And the result? Obesity, type 2 diabetes — and dramatically increasing incidence rates of colorectal cancer around the world.

A new study from the American Cancer Society says that the sudden jump in the number of cases of colorectal cancer in developing countries is a direct result of the Westernization of diet and lifestyles around the world.

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Which is kind of ironic, since the incidence of colorectal cancer in the U.S. is dropping year by year due to early cancer screenings, such as colonoscopies. Nevertheless, the study found that between 1983 and 2002, 27 of 51 international cancer registries reported increasing rates of colorectal cancer for men and women.

Most of the bad news came from the so-called economically transitioning countries – the former Soviet satellites and newly-industrializing countries in Asia and South America – where the collapse of the global Cold War economy set off rapid economic growth.

The report concludes that the sudden introduction of Western-style cheap junk food, physical inactivity, red or processed meats, and decreased consumption of fruits and vegetables lit the fuse for the obesity bomb that’s now exploding in the affected countries. Add in the traditional smoking, heavy alcohol consumption, and other relics of the Bad Old Days that are still prominent in the developing world, and that bomb causes even more collateral damage.

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