Excess Body Weight Responsible for 3.9% of all Cancers

The Obesity Epidemic

Obesity & not Enough Exercise can Lead to Cancer

According to a study published December 12, 2018 in the CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians by the American Cancer Society, from 1975 to 2016 obesity increased worldwide from 21% in men and 24% in women to about 40% for both sexes. In 2012 excess body weight was responsible for 3.9% of all cancers worldwide (544,300 cases). The rise in obesity is attributed to adopting Western dietary habits and leading a more sedentary lifestyle with very little physical exercise.

Cancers Linked to Obesity

  • Esophageal
  • Kidney
  • Liver
  • Gallbladder
  • Stomach
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Pancreas
  • Colorectal
  • Thyroid
  • Endometrium
  • Breast
  • Ovarian

Cancers from Obesity more than Twice as High in Women as in Men

The total number of cancer cases caused by excess body weight was more than twice as high in women (368,500 cases) as in men (175,800 cases). The cancers that are linked to obesity specifically in men or women are:


  • Breast cancer was the largest contributor (114,800 cases or 31%) among women.
  • Endometrial cancer (98,400 cases or 27%)
  • Colorectal cancer (42,300 cases or 12%)


  • Liver cancer was the largest contributor among men (54,600 cases or 31%),
  • Colorectal cancer (42,200 cases or 24%)
  • Kidney cancer (37,400 cases or 21%)

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), obesity is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more. In 2015-16, 39.8% of all Americans were obese and about 93.3 million American adults were obese. The estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the United States was $147 billion US dollars and the medical cost for people who have obesity was $1,429 higher than those of normal weight. Obesity affects 41% of seniors over age 60 in the United States.

Obesity is also a High Risk for other Diseases

Being overweight and having a high body mass is a high risk factor for many other preventable diseases such as:

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • High levels of oxidized LDL cholesterol
  • Liver and gallbladder disease
  • Arthritis
  • Sleep apnea and respiratory problems
  • Infertility in women
  • High blood pressure

Dementia – Having a large waist circumference and excess weight around the age of 50 may pose a high risk for dementia according to a study published 2017 in the Alzheimer’s and Dementia Journal. To read more about this please see our blog post from June 15, 2018.

Other High Risk Factors

Obesity is not the only high risk for the above-mentioned cancers, but combined with other high risk factors like smoking tobacco, drinking alcoholic beverages, consuming processed meat and not getting enough physical exercise the risks increase.

Choosing a Short or Long-term Skilled Rehabilitation and Nursing Care Facility

When you need to choose a short or long-term rehab and skilled nursing care facility for your loved one make sure that the food served there is healthy and nutritious, so that your loved one will not gain a lot of excess weight. Also, make sure the physical and recreational therapy programs include some physical exercise for everyone.

Cuisine, Dining and Physical Therapy at the Van Duyn Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing in Syracuse, New York

The Van Duyn Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing in Syracuse, New York has wonderful healthy food prepared by the chef together with a dietitian and Food Service manager that is offered in an attractive way on a menu with two choices for the main dish. There is also the option to ask for something else if the resident does not fancy either of the two featured dishes. Also physical therapy is tailored to meet each resident’s capability level, so that even very frail residents will benefit from some kind of physical activity.


Since so many dread diseases can be prevented by following a healthy diet, maintaining a good weight and getting plenty of physical exercise, it really pays to make the effort to do this.



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