Obesity health issues continue past weight loss

Posted May 2, 2015 by Tim Sandle
A new study shows losing weight does not mitigate the effects of obesity on tumor development. This health warning relates to studies conducted in mice.
Severe obesity
Severe obesity
Tony Alter (CC BY 2.0)
Obesity carries with it many health risks. For example, obesity can raise the risk for developing a range of cancers. Other health effects include heart disease and a risk of diabetes.
Taking the issue of cancer, one thing that has never been conclusively proved is if there is an association with cancer and obesity, then can people who are obese reduce this risk by losing weight down to a 'safe' level? Currently medical research has not found with any certainty if people who lose sufficient weight so that they are no longer classed as obese can avoid developing cancers add the same odds. A new finding presents some disturbing news. At the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) annual meeting held in Philadelphia during April 2015, Stephen Hursting of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, presented evidence suggesting that, at least in mice, weight loss does not seem to help.
According to an article by Kerry Grens for The Scientist, Dr. Hursting’s research team managed to trigger cancer in the mammary tissue of mice. For this study the mice were subdivided into three groups: those that were obese; those that were once obese but had subsequently lost sufficient weight as to no longer be classed as obese; and those considered to be of normal weight. The study revealed that although the previously obese mice had lost weight, cancer tumors progressed at a greater rate than with the control mice (mice of normal weight.) Moreover, the rate of tumor progression was equivalent to that seen with the obese mice.
In an interview, Dr. Hursting told The Scientist: “We were curious if there would be any residual impact of having been obese and there was, unfortunately.”
If these findings are applicable to humans, the results could mean that cancer patients might benefit from interventions that block the memory of body cells in relation to obesity. In alternative research, a paper published in the journal Cancer Research indicates that weight loss reduces the risk of inflammation in postmenopausal women. Inflammation has an association with the development of certain cancers, like breast cancer. This alternative research indicates that the weight loss - cancer risk interconnection is very complex.