Health officials have announced a link between obesity and 40% of cancers diagnosed here in the United States. This new report, Vital Signs, hails from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and highlights a direct connection between obesity and cancer. Authors of the study believe that these cancers could be avoided if people better controlled their weight.
Researchers led by C. Brooke Steele, of CDC’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, analyzed cancer incidence rates between 2005 and 2014, looking at 13 obesity-related cancers:
- brain cancer;
- multiple myeloma;
- cancer of the esophagus;
- postmenopausal breast cancer;
- cancers of the thyroid,
- uterus and colon.
The study found that being obese or overweight accounted for 630,000 cancer cases involving Americans in 2014.
What counts as obese or overweight? It all comes down to your BMI – or body mass index. BMI is a person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters. According to the CDC, if your BMI is between 25.0 and 29.9 you are overweight. If it is 30.0 or above, you are obese. Calculate your BMI here.
“The burden of overweight- and obesity-related cancer is high in the United States,” say the authors. They add that it “might be reduced through efforts to prevent and control overweight and obesity,” and they conclude that “comprehensive cancer control strategies, including use of evidence-based interventions to promote healthy weight, could help decrease the incidence of these cancers in the United States.”
The obesity problem in the country is already well-documented. The US is home to around 25% of all the world’s severely obese men, many young citizens are unable to even enlist in the military due to excess weight, and most worryingly childhood obesity is on the rise. The big problem isn’t just the fact that accomplishing simple tasks is difficult for those who are obese — carrying excess weight can be life-threatening.
“That obesity and overweight are affecting cancers may be surprising to many Americans. The awareness of some cancers being associated with obesity and overweight is not yet widespread,” Dr. Anne Schuchat, CDC deputy director, told press. Watch the official CDC video on obesity and cancer.
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