NYP Examines Obesity-Cancer Correlation


For most people, losing weight to look and feel good is a lifestyle priority. However, studies have shown that maintaining a healthy weight is also one the of the most important steps people can take to reduce the risk of cancer.

According to the World Health Organization, obesity and being overweight has been linked to 13 different types of cancer, including esophageal, liver, stomach and others. Extra weight around the stomach or waistline is strongly linked to colorectal and pancreatic cancers, as well as to endometrium and breast cancers in post-menopausal women. Excess fat is also associated with abnormal glucose metabolism and insulin levels, which are associated with certain types of cancer as well. Overweight patients do not fight cancer as effectively as healthier persons, are more likely to have cancer return and are at a greater risk of dying from cancer.

One way to determine an at-risk weight is to calculate Body Mass Index -- or BMI. For most adults, experts consider a BMI within the range of 18.5 to 24.9 to be healthy. A BMI between 25 and 29.9 is overweight and a BMI of 30 and over is obese.

For those who are overweight or obese, losing weight and keeping it off is difficult. However, losing even a small amount of weight can reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases. By setting realistic goals and adopting healthful lifestyle habits, reaching and maintaining a healthy weight is possible.

To do so, experts recommend following a plant-based diet supplemented by lean protein such as fish, poultry and beans. Exercising regularly is also key; weekly activity should consist of at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity. In addition to serving as a mental boost, physical activity can help control cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure and improve immune function.

NewYork-Presbyterian cancer centers treat the full array of cancers, providing high-quality, comprehensive cancer care at locations throughout the New York metropolitan area and Westchester in state-of-the-art, comfortable environments. Board certified medical oncologists collaborate with cancer specialists, including those at their academic medical centers, to provide an individualized plan of care. To find a cancer specialist at the location most convenient for you please visitnyp.org/cancerlocations.

NewYork-Presbyterian is one of the largest and most comprehensive hospitals in the nation, ranked New York’s No. 1 hospital for the 16th consecutive year, and No. 6 in the United States, according to the U.S. News and World Report. Affiliated with two academic medical colleges – Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and Weill Cornell Medicine, NewYork-Presbyterian brings together internationally recognized researchers and clinicians to develop and implement the latest approaches for prevention, diagnosis and treatment. The Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center is only one of three NCI designated comprehensive cancer centers in New York State. NewYork-Presbyterian provides comprehensive cancer care at all of our locations throughout the New York metro area including Westchester County. Learn more at nyp.org/cancer.

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