ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The American Cancer Society now estimates a full third of cancer deaths in Minnesota are due to one problem in particular, obesity.
Sixty-two percent of Minnesotans are either overweight or obese.
Angie Rolle with the Minnesota division of the American Cancer Society said cancer is the number one killer in Minnesota, deadlier than heart attacks or stroke.
She said, "Nine-thousand people die from cancer every year in Minnesota."
With one-third of cancer deaths caused by obesity, that means about three-thousand cancer cases each year are preventable.
Rolle said, "We have a significant opportunity, if we can get the word out and have people take some control over their own health and reduce those risk factors, we have an opportunity to prevent cancer deaths."
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Rolle shared data from a report in 2009 from the World Cancer Research Fund and American Institute for Cancer Research. It shows the following proportions of cancers caused by diet and obesity:
Mouth, pharynx, larynx 63%
To cut cancer risk, Rolle said the American Cancer Society recommends, "Eating five or more fruits or vegetables a day and getting 30 minutes of physical activity five days a week."
The American Cancer Society has more tips and some helpful tools at www.cancer.org including a health check. Rolle said the with the health check, "You can go through and take an annual assessment of where you are with some of your risk factors and it gives you a nice printable form that you can go in and talk to your physician about."
The hope is Minnesotans will take note, take action and take obesity out of their cancer risk equation.
Rolle said, "They have the power to reduce their risk of cancer."
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