The Link between Obesity and Cancer

In a 2011-2012 survey 68.5% of adults in the U.S. have excess weight, 34.9% were affected by obesity, and 6.4% had severe or morbid obesity.

The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) reports that cancers can be prevented by maintaining a healthy weight, balanced diet and by increasing physical activity. By doing this you are also lowering your risk for the following cancers:

  • 38% of breast cancers
  • 50% of colon and rectal cancers
  • 69% of throat cancers
  • 24% percent of kidney cancers
  • 19% of pancreatic cancers

Most people know that obesity and excess weight increase the risk for certain health conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and high cholesterol, but they are less aware of the increase in risk of developing cancer.

"The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) reports that only half of all Americans are aware of the link between obesity and cancer." – Taraneh Soleymani, MD

It is important to keep in mind that the ability to store excess calories as fat was once a useful adaptation so our ancestors could survive times when it was hard to find food. Now, however, we live in an environment where high calorie foods are readily available, so we no longer face long periods without eating. Instead, we face risk of excess calories and fat storage.

Height & Body Weight = BMI (Body Mass Index)
*Obesity was classified as a disease by the American Medical Association in 2013