Text Alternative for Body Weight & Cancer Risk

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.

Body fatness, poor nutrition, physical inactivity and alcohol consumption leads to 1 in 5* cancer cases.

*Estimate; source:  World Cancer Research Fund International, 2016

Being overweight or obese 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
  • Other factors that regulate cell growth

**Source: “Body Fatness and Cancer – Viewpoint of the IARC Working Group.” Published August 25, 2016, in New England Journal of Medicine, First author Beatrice Lauby-Secretan, PhD, International Agency for Research on Cancer

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 greater 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.

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

Source: choosemyplate.gov

Eat less junk, such as:

  • Added sugars
  • Cake, cookies, white bread
  • 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

© 2014 American Cancer Society, Inc. No. 080253 Rev. 7/17