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Cancer and Obesity

Overweight and obesity are linked to cancer.

Overweight and obesity are associated with increased risk of 13 types of cancer. These cancers account for about 40 percent of all cancers diagnosed in the United States in 2014. Overall, the rate of new cancer cases has decreased since the 1990s, but increases in overweight and obesity-related cancers are likely slowing this progress. The rates of obesity-related cancers, not including colorectal cancer, increased by 7 percent between 2005 and 2014. The rates of non-obesity related cancers declined during that time.

More than half of Americans who are overweight or obese can increase their risk for cancer. Many things are associated with cancer, but avoiding tobacco and maintaining a healthy weight are among the most important things people can do to lower their risk of getting cancer. Some states and communities are providing support that can help people get to and keep a healthy weight.

Contact Information

CDC Media Relations
(404) 639-3286


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Brenda Fitzgerald, MD


Brenda Fitzgerald, MD

“A majority of American adults weigh more than recommended – and being overweight or obese puts people at higher risk for a number of cancers – so these findings are a cause for concern. By getting to and keeping a healthy weight, we all can play a role in cancer prevention”

Brenda Fitzgerald, MD – Director, CDC

Lisa C. Richardson, MD, MPH


Lisa C. Richardson, MD, MPH

“As an oncologist, when people ask me if there’s a cure for cancer, I respond by saying ‘yes, good health is the best prescription for preventing chronic diseases, including cancer’.  What that means to healthcare providers like me is helping people to have easier access to healthy, affordable foods and drinks where they live, work, learn, and play.”

Lisa C. Richardson, MD, MPH – Director, CDC’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control (DCPC)