There are plenty of reasons to manage your weight.

Heart disease, diabetes and arthritis are all more of a threat to women who are overweight. Now add another one.

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Research shows that overweight women have a much higher chance of developing and dying from breast cancer. In fact, excess body weight is to blame for about one out of five of all cancer deaths.

Woman with scaleGaining weight as an adult or being overweight beyond menopause seems to put women at particular risk — especially if they have a family history of breast cancer.

True, all this might not sound like good news. But weight is actually one of the few risk factors for breast cancer that a woman can control. Most factors — including beginning menstruation at an early age, late menopause, age and family health history — are beyond her control. Studies show that women who maintain a healthy weight throughout their lives are less likely to develop breast cancer as they age.

What if you’re already overweight? Experts strongly believe that shedding excess pounds can trim breast cancer risk.

Use these guidelines to help keep your weight under control:

  • If you’re overweight, aim to lose about 1 to 2 pounds per week.
  • Cut about 500 to 1,000 calories from your daily diet. Limit fat to no more than 30 percent of the calories you take in each day. And make sure saturated fat accounts for less than 10 percent of your daily calories.
  • Stay active. According to one study, regular physical activity can cut a woman’s breast cancer risk by 20 percent.

To schedule an appointment with one of our highly trained physicians and find out why LifeBridge Health is Baltimore’s premier health care organization, call 410-601-WELL.

This article is sponsored by LifeBridge Health. It was original published on Oct. 26, 2015.

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