Overweight and obesity are associated with increased risk of at least 13 different types of cancer.
Methods: Data from the United States Cancer Statistics for 2014 were used to assess incidence rates, and data from 2005 to 2014 were used to assess trends for cancers associated with overweight and obesity (adenocarcinoma of the esophagus; cancers of the breast [in postmenopausal women], colon and rectum, endometrium, gallbladder, gastric cardia, kidney, liver, ovary, pancreas, and thyroid; meningioma; and multiple myeloma) by sex, age, race/ethnicity, state, geographic region, and cancer site. Because screening for colorectal cancer can reduce colorectal cancer incidence through detection of precancerous polyps before they become cancerous, trends with and without colorectal cancer were analyzed.
Results: In 2014, approximately 631,000 persons in the United States received a diagnosis of a cancer associated with overweight and obesity, representing 40% of all cancers diagnosed. Overweight- and obesity-related cancer incidence rates were higher among older persons (ages ≥50 years) than younger persons; higher among females than males; and higher among non-Hispanic black and non-Hispanic white adults compared with other groups. Incidence rates for overweight- and obesity-related cancers during 2005–2014 varied by age, cancer site, and state. Excluding colorectal cancer, incidence rates increased significantly among persons aged 20–74 years; decreased among those aged ≥75 years; increased in 32 states; and were stable in 16 states and the District of Columbia.
Conclusions: The burden of overweight- and obesity-related cancer is high in the United States. Incidence rates of overweight- and obesity-related cancers except colorectal cancer have increased in some age groups and states.
Implications for Public Health Practice: The burden of overweight- and obesity-related cancers might be reduced through efforts to prevent and control overweight and obesity. 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.