According to a recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, women who drop a few pounds may find themselves off the breast cancer list. Apparently, women who lose weight also lower their estrogen levels and other hormones associated with breast cancer.

Researchers looked at 439 obese and postmenopausal women from ages 50 to 75 who were not in the habit of exercising and who were not taking hormone-replacement therapy. They then divided the participants into four groups. The first group simply dieted, avoiding sugar drinks and desserts; the second was made to exercise, working out for 45 minutes for five days a week; the third group engaged in both diet and exercise programs; and the fourth group carried on with their usual routine.

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After about a year, the diet and the diet plus exercise groups dropped an average of 10 percent of their weight and showed lower levels of estrogen, thereby lowering their risk of breast cancer. Even those who only lost 5 percent of their weight showed considerable change in breast cancer risk. However, the exercise-only group and the control group experienced no risk loss at all. Apparently, exercise alone wasn’t enough to make the participants lose significant weight.

Now if you’ve always wanted to lose weight but just can’t seem to find the motivation to start, then the possibility of lowering your breast cancer risk may be able to push you in the right direction. There’s no better time to adopt healthier eating habits than the present. Even the smallest changes you make today will affect your health in the future.

(Photo by rbayrak via sxc.hu; edits by Mike Dee)

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