American Cancer Society // Infographics // 2013 // 01

Body Weight & Cancer Risk

In the United States, the percentage of overweight and obese adults and children has soared over the last several decades. Studies show that with that increased weight comes an increased risk of developing certain types of cancers.

Excess body weight, poor nutrition and/or physical inactivity leads to 1 in 3* cancer deaths.

*Cancer Facts & Figures, 2012

Being overweight or obese likely raises a person’s risk of getting at least 13 types of cancer because it may negatively affect:

  • The body’s immune system and inflammation
  • The body’s levels of certain hormones and proteins
  • How the body’s cells grow and divide

Approximately two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese. Are you?

  • Measure your Body Mass Index (BMI) using the following formula**:
    • [ WEIGHT (lbs.) × 703 ] ÷ [ HEIGHT (in.) × HEIGHT (in.) ]
      **Calculating BMI may not be the most useful method for all body types; consult your physician
  • Understand your results:
    • Underweight in less than 18.5
    • Normal is 18.5 to 25
    • Overweight is 25 to 30
    • Obese is greater than 30
  • Take action if you’re overweight or obese
  • Cut 500 calories a day to lose 1 pound per week

Some way to decrease calories consumed include:

Pay attention to portion sizes

Your plate should be:
50% Fruits/non-starchy vegetables
20% Lean Protein (the size of a deck of cards)
30% Whole grains or starchy veggies on a Plate

Eat less junk, such as:

  • Added sugars
  • White bread, cakes, and cookies
  • Fried foods

Eat more fruits and vegetables, at least 2 ½ cups per day

Some ways to increase calories burned include:

Be more physically active by:

  • Playing sports
  • Walking or running
  • Other physical activities
Get 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity per week or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity per week

Limit sedentary behavior, such as:

  • Viewing on-screen entertainment (i.e. TV, video games, computers, tablets)
  • Sitting around
  • Lying down

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