Remember this little rhyme if you’re concerned about prostate health: “if you want to protect your prostate, lose weight.”
New research is showing that men with growing waistlines are more likely to die from a severe prostate illness. Specifically, the risk grows by 7 percent for every 4-inch increase in belly fat.
The researchers carrying out the study still aren’t entirely sure why belly fat boosts the risk. They said its possible obesity could lead to molecular disturbances that contribute to genetic mutation, or it could be that it is harder to diagnose, leading to later diagnosis than men at a normal weight.
A later diagnosis means the disease may have progressed to a point where nothing can be done.
Now they need to learn if weight loss in obese men can reduce the risk of death.
The study was pretty big. Researchers reviewed data on 2.5 million men from 19 published studies plus a new analysis of more than 200,000 men who were part of the UK Biobank. None had prostate troubles at the start, and weight was assessed using body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, waist-to-hip ratio, and/or body fat percentage.
The risk of death from severe prostate illness went up with all the measures, and every 5-point increase in BMI resulted in a 10% increase in the risk of death. Further, a 5 percent rise in total body fat percentage boosted the risk by another 3 percent.
Weight loss, of course, is not easy if you’re obese. But it is possible. It requires some major lifestyle overhauls and, in many cases, will have to be guided with professional help.
But there are huge rewards. Losing weight can help improve cardiovascular health, reduce the risk for diabetes, and improve mental health. It may even reduce the risk of death from a prostate illness.
Speak to your doctor about losing weight and how to integrate healthy eating and exercise into your lifestyle. It’s a long road, but there is light at the end.