What have scientists learned about the relationship between obesity and cancer?
In 2001, experts concluded that cancers of the colon, breast (postmenopausal), endometrium (the lining of the uterus), kidney, and esophagus are associated with obesity. Some studies have also reported links between obesity and cancers of the gallbladder, ovaries, and pancreas (4).
Obesity and physical inactivity may account for 25 to 30 percent of several major cancers—colon, breast (postmenopausal), endometrial, kidney, and cancer of the esophagus (4).
Preventing weight gain can reduce the risk of many cancers. Experts recommend that people establish habits of healthy eating and physical activity early in life to prevent overweight and obesity. Those who are already overweight or obese are advised to avoid additional weight gain, and to lose weight through a low-calorie diet and exercise. Even a weight loss of only 5 to 10 percent of total weight can provide health benefits (4).