Cancer and obesity are linked. Healthy eating and Thanksgiving should be too.

coconut-pineapple-piejpg-abc297ffcd5c7142Wendy Demark-Wahnefried is set to deliver next week a speech about healthy eating, weight management and restraint.

“This is not a real popular message the week before Thanksgiving,” said Demark-Wahnefried, associate director of cancer prevention at the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center.

“I hope I’m not booed off the stage,” she said, laughing.

The stage will be the second annual Innovations in Wellness Conference next Tuesday and Wednesday at the UAB Alumni House, 1301 10th Ave. South. Both days are open to those interested in wellness and health education topics. Day one focuses on social media.

Demark-Wahnefried, professor and Webb Endowed Chair of Nutrition Sciences, said “overeating for one day is not going to kill you.”

But obesity and cancer are linked, she said, and there are some things you can do to avoid overindulgence:

– Stand away from the table with chips, dips and other high fat items. If it’s across the room, there’s less chance of constant grazing.

– If you do hit the hors d’oeuvres table, choose the fresh veggies over the high fat stuff.

– Wear tight clothes. Seriously, in the days gone by when women wore girdles, there was less overindulgence, she said.

–  If hosting, send food home with guests. If a guest, don’t take the food. (Trust us, someone else will.)

– Take a walk after the meal. Walking is healthy and a good time to talk to friends and family rather than hitting the couch like a beached whale, she said.

– Use the time afforded with family members to catch up on medical history. It may not be the most lighthearted conversation in the world, but knowing your family’s cancer history is useful, she said. Cancer can run in families.

“There are six cancers related to obesity,” Demark-Wahnefried said.

Those cancers are: breast (later in life), pancreatic, colon, esophagial/stomach, kidney , and endometrial.

Demark-Wahnefried said for those who’ve been diagnosed, the importance of weight management to prevent more complications or the onset of another cancer is immense.

“We tend to think of cancer as one of those diseases that causes wasting,” she said. “The fact is, the people who do worst are those that start off the fattest.”

For more information on the conference go here.


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