Skip to main content

Body Weight - The Science

An unhealthy body weight can increase your chance of developing cancer.
Body weight facts
  • We know that carrying extra body weight means your chance of getting some cancers is higher.
  • "Extra" body fat around the waist can give the body an apple shape. This can increase the risk of health problems, even more than having extra fat in the hip and thigh areas (a more pear body shape).
  • "Extra" is when you have a measurement of:
    • 35 inches (80 cm) or more in the middle of your body/waist for women.
    • 40 inches (102 cm) or more in the middle of your body/waist for men.

Did you know that...

  • More than half of all Canadians have extra body fat, increasing their cancer risk.
  • As a person's waist circumference (measurement) goes up, their cancer risk goes up. Usually this is more than 102 cm (40") in men and more than 88 cm (35") in women.
  • Eating a “Western type” diet (a diet that contains high amounts of sugars, meat and fat) also gives you a higher chance of having extra body fat.

What types of cancers are linked to an unhealthy bodyweight?

Carrying extra body weight can increase your chances of developing many types of cancer. Please see the "Statistics" tab for details.

Here are some BC statistics (2015 data*) on the number of new diagnoses (male and female) for cancers that were likely caused by extra body weight.

  • Bowel (key words: colon, rectum, large intestine): 156
  • Endometrial: 123
  • Breast: 108
  • Kidney: 62
  • Esophageal: 34
  • Pancreatic: 27
  • Liver: 26
  • Prostate: 17
  • Myeloma: 16
  • Thyroid: 13
  • Stomach: 12
  • Ovarian: 6
  • Gallbladder: 5
Body weight facts
Tab Heading
SOURCE: Body Weight - The Science ( )
Page printed: . Unofficial document if printed. Please refer to SOURCE for latest information.

Copyright © BC Cancer. All Rights Reserved.

    Copyright © 2022 Provincial Health Services Authority