According to new studies, excess body weight is an established cause of cancer, currently known to be linked to 13 cancers.
A new study looking at the share of cancers related to obesity finds the proportion of cancer cases that could be attributable to excess body weight reflects variations in obesity rates in the U.S.
The burden of obesity-related cancers
Cancers related to body weight are twice as predominant in women than in men.
While differences in excess body weight is well-known across countries and cities, there is little information on the burden of obesity-related cancers.
To learn more, American Cancer Society investigators led by Farhad Islami, M.D., Ph.D., Scientific Director, Surveillance Research, calculated the population attributable fraction (PAF) of incident cancer cases attributable to excess body weight among adults in all 50 states of America and the District of Columbia.
They found that in both men and women, there was at least a 1.5-fold difference between states with the highest and lowest proportions of cancers attributable to excess body weight.
Among men, the population attributable fraction (PAF) ranged from 3.9% in Montana to 6.0% in Texas. Meanwhile, the PAF for women was approximately twice as high as for men, ranging from 7.1% in Hawaii to 11.4% in the District of Columbia. States with largest PAFs were mostly located in the South and Midwest, plus Alaska and the District of Columbia.
The proportion was far greater for some individual cancer types.
“The proportion of cancers attributable to [excess body weight] varies among states, but [excess body weight] accounts for at least 1 in 17 of all incident cancers in each state.” Explained the researchers.
“Broad implementation of known community and individual-level interventions is needed to reduce access to and marketing of unhealthy foods (e.g. through a tax on sugary drinks) and to promote and increase access to healthy foods and physical activity, as well as preventive care.”