The risk of all-cause mortality was 30 percent higher for people who were considered obese at the start of the study vs. those of a normal weight. The risk of dying from colorectal cancer was 35 percent higher, and the risk of dying from heart disease was 68 percent higher.
Meyerhardt explained that the researchers tried to adjust the data for important factors, such as physical activity, red meat intake (a known risk factor for colorectal cancer), family history and blood pressure levels. Even after adjusting the data, obesity increased the risk of dying.
"In and of itself, obesity does seem to have some effect," Meyerhardt said.
In the second study, researchers recruited 2,278 people who'd been diagnosed with non-metastatic colon or rectal cancer between 1992 and 2007. In this group, there were 842 deaths. Of those, 377 were from colorectal cancer and 152 were from heart disease, according to the study.
People with type 2 diabetes had a 53 percent higher risk of dying from any cause and a 29 percent higher risk of dying from colorectal cancer compared to people without type 2 diabetes. The risk of dying from heart disease was 2.16 times higher in people with type 2 diabetes and nearly four times higher in people with type 2 diabetes who used insulin, compared with people without type 2 diabetes, the study found.
"Insulin use in type 2 diabetes usually indicates longer-standing diabetes, which is usually associated with worse outcomes," Meyerhardt noted.
Obesity, elevated body-mass index and diabetes are associated with worse disease states across the board," said Dr. David Bernstein, chief of gastroenterology at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, N.Y. "But, we don't know if you lose weight if that risk wi
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