2017 - Research

Cancer and obesity: Overweight and obesity are associated with cancer

Key takeaway:

  • Overweight and obesity are leading cancer risk factors. There are at least 13 different types of cancer associated with overweight and obesity, which comprise forty percent of all diagnosed cancers. 
  • These overweight and obesity related cancers have been increasing while other cancers decreased from 2005 to 2014.
  • The growing prevalence of overweight and obesity in the US emphasizes the need for initiatives to promote physical activity and healthy eating.

Results:

  • Two in three adults in the US are overweight, but most Americans don’t know that overweight and obesity can increase their risk of cancer.
  • Over 630,000 Americans are diagnosed with a cancer associated with overweight and obesity.
  • There are 13 types of cancer associated with overweight and obesity. These cancers make up forty percent of all cancers diagnosed. About two in three occur in adults aged 50 to 74.
  • Between 2005 and 2014, most cancers associated with overweight and obesity increased while other types of cancer decreased.
  • New cancer cases are higher among blacks and whites compared to other race/ethnic groups.
  • Actions that states and communities have taken to reduce overweight and obesity and the associated cancers include:
    • Supporting comprehensive cancer control programs focusing on cancer prevention, education, screening, quality care, and survivorship.
    • Making healthy food options more accessible by increasing access to farmers’ markets and increasing healthy food options in vending machines/cafeterias.
    • Encouraging physical activity by encouraging walk/bike-to-school programs and walking clubs in workplaces.

Implications:

  • Safe Routes to School programming can play a key role in combatting overweight and obesity by encouraging children to have active school commutes and ingraining the habit of active transport early on.

Methods:

  • This report is from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2017). Cancer and obesity: Overweight and obesity are associated with cancer. Vital Signs.