Teenage Obesity May Increase Risk of Colon Cancer: 5 Food Swaps to Make You Healthier

Being overweight was associated with 53 per cent and 54 per cent higher risk of colon cancer for men and women.

Teenage Obesity May Increase Risk of Colon Cancer: 5 Food Swaps to Make You Healthier

Childhood obesity is a major concern


  1. Worldwide obesity had doubled since 1980
  2. Children may tend to remain obese or overweight into adulthood
  3. Being overweight linked with 53% higher risk of colon cancer for men
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), worldwide obesity had doubled since 1980. In 2014, more than 1.9 billion adults, 18 years and older, were overweight and of these over 600 million were obese. Childhood obesity is a major concern because children may tend to remain obese or overweight into adulthood and therefore, they are more likely to develop chronic diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular diseases at a younger age. Keeping these disturbing facts in mind, a new study, published in the Journal Cancer, shows that youngsters who are overweight are at a higher risk of developing colon or rectal cancer.

Researchers from the Tel Aviv University in Israel found that being overweight and obese was associated with 53 per cent and 54 per cent higher risk of colon cancer for men and women, respectively. For the study, they examined information from 1,087,358 Jewish males and 707,212 Jewish females such as measures of their body mass index from the age of 16 years to 19 years between 1967 and 2002. These individuals were followed till 2012. They found that during this period at least 2,967 new cases of rectal cancer were identified, including 1,977 among men and 990 among women. 

Preventing childhood or teenage obesity is definitely high priority on WHO's agenda, but here's what you can do to protect your kids. Educate and encourage them to make these five healthy food swaps for common items we consume on a day to day basis. 

1. Wholegrain Bread Instead of White Bread: We know that packing a sandwich for lunch or grabbing one for breakfast on-the-go is probably the easiest to do. Therefore, it is all the more important that you choose good quality bread. Pick wholegrain bread from smaller bakeries that make it fresh instead of the packaged ones that are usually a mix of white flour and atta. There are a lot of options available from multigrain to calcium-rich ragi bread, choose wisely.  Wholegrains are packed with an extra punch of fiber that you need for smooth digestion and to prevent binge eating that can lead to unnecessary weight gain. 

2. Honey or Jaggery instead of Refined Sugar: The same goes for refined sugar which has no nutrition and is a source of empty calories. Swap it with healthier alternatives like honey, jaggery or coconut sugar wherever and whenever possible. Although these may have the same calories but also have a higher nutritional value and have some trace minerals to offer unlike processed sugar. 

3. Processed Butter with White Butter or Nut Butter: Processed butter is high in sodium. High consumption of salty foods can increase water retention in the body and leave you bloated. It may even lead to fatty food cravings. Salt is added in large quantities in processed foods to increase their shelf life and improve their taste. Opt for fresh, homemade white butter or better still nut butter like peanut butter or almond butter that contain essential oils, Omega-3 fatt acids and proteins. 

4. Brown Rice for White Rice: White rice is essentially stripped of all its nutritive value during the industrial processing. Brown rice, on the other hand, has the husk (outer covering) still intact and is not subjective to intensive processing and thus, has a higher fiber content. Fiber can play an important role in preventing weight gain by keeping you full for longer. Try making their menus interesting by other a mix of brown rice, red rice, barley or protein-rich quinoa. 

5. Coconut Water instead of Fizzy Drinks or Packaged Juices: Coconut water is low in calories, it contains natural fat and is known to be cholesterol free. It is delicious and super hydrating which definitely give it an edge over fizzy drinks and packaged juices - the contents of which you can never be sure of. You can even blend your own fruit juices, but remember not to strain out the pulp.

Small changes in your daily diet can have big results. Your lifestyle plays an important role in determining your physical and mental health. 

Inputs from PTI

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