Body Weight and Cancer Risk

It’s no secret that obesity in American adults and children has grown over the last few decades. Seventy-one percent of American adults are overweight or obese. Studies show that being overweight may lead to a higher risk of getting certain types of cancers.

A doctor weighs a man on a traditional scale.

Being overweight may:

  • Increase a person’s risk of getting at least 13 types of cancer
  • Negatively affect the body’s immune system, inflammation levels, certain hormones and proteins and other factors that control cell growth

In fact, high body fat, poor nutrition, physical inactivity and too much alcohol consumption may contribute to one in five cancer deaths.

Are you overweight or obese? Here’s how to find out:

  1. Measure Your Body Mass Index (BMI) by Using This Calculator: https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/assessing/bmi/adult_bmi/english_bmi_calculator/bmi_calculator.html
  2. What Your Results Mean:
    • Underweight is < 18.5
    • Normal or healthy weight is 18.5 to 24.9
    • Overweight is 25 to 29.9
    • Obese is 30 and above
  3. Take Action if You Fall in the Overweight or Obese Range:
    • Eat fewer calories on a daily basis
    • Limit portion sizes
    • Eat less “junk” food; replace with fruits and veggies
    • Burn more calories; be more active
    • Limit sedentary behavior
Author
Denver Health Medical Plan Staff Writer