In the United States, the percentage of overweight and obese adults and children has soared over the past several decades. Studies show that with that increased weight comes an increased risk of developing certain types of cancers.
Excess body weight, poor nutrition, physical inactivity and alcohol consumption leads to about 1 in 5* cancer cases.
Overweight or obesity 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
- Factors that regulate cell growth
71% of American adults are overweight or obese. Are you overweight or obese?
- 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 is less than 18.5
- Normal is 18.5 to 24.9
- Overweight is 25 to 29.9
- Obese is more than 30
- Take action if you’re overweight or obese:
- Cut 500 calories a day to lose 1 pound per week
Some ways to decrease calories consumed include:
Pay attention to portion sizes.
Follow a healthy eating pattern:
- Eat more fruits and vegetables.
- Choose whole grains, and fiber-rich beans and peas.
- Choose lean protein, instead of red and processed meats.
Eat less junk, such as:
- Added sugars
- Sugar-sweetened beverages
- Cake, cookies, white bread
- Fried foods
Eat plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables.
Some ways to increase calories burned include:
Be more physically active by:
- Playing sports
- Walking or running
- Other physical activities
Get 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week, 75-150 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity per week, or a combination of the two throughout the week.
Limit sedentary behavior, such as:
- Viewing on-screen entertainment (i.e. TV, video games, computers, tablets)
- Sitting around
- Lying down
© 2020 American Cancer Society, Inc. No. 080253 Rev. 6/20