BMI and Cancer

cancer bmi

Excess Body Weight Can Contribute to Cancer

February is National Cancer Prevention Month. Studies show that there are ways to reduce your risk of cancer. Several factors that are within your control might make a significant difference in your health and longevity. Avoiding too much sun, tobacco products, alcohol, and processed meats, for example, can help reduce your risk of developing several types of cancer.

According to the American Cancer Society, “There is growing data suggesting a strong relationship between excess body weight and increased risk of certain cancers.” There is evidence that suggests poor nutrition, inactivity, and excess weight significantly increases your risk of cancer. The American Cancer Society believes that these factors cause one in every five diagnoses of cancer. Some other points the American Cancer Society wants you to know:

  • Being overweight or obese might contribute to 13 or more different types of cancers
  • Being overweight affects your immune system
  • Being overweight contributes to the development of proteins, hormones, and other things that affect the growth of cancer cells

One way to reduce the risk of cancer is to maintain healthy body weight. Eating right, staying fit through physical exercise, and keeping your body weight down can “have a beneficial effect on your cancer risk.”


Start Reducing Your Cancer Risk by Learning About Your Body Mass Index

A good place to start thinking about cancer prevention is with your BMI, body mass index. Measuring BMI is one way that health care professionals determine whether you are overweight or obese. You can try to measure BMI on your own if you know your height and weight. The calculation for BMI is 703 x your weight, divided by height squared.

The formula looks like this:

703 x Weight (lbs.)
_________________________= Body Mass Index (BMI)

Height x Height(inches)

The results should fall into one of the following categories:

Underweight = BMI <18.5
Normal weight = BMI 18.5–24.9
Overweight = BMI 25–29.9
Obesity = BMI of 30 or greater

The higher your BMI, the more you should be concerned that your weight might be negatively affecting your health. If you want to learn about your BMI, how it relates to cancer risks and ways to better your health, you should see a doctor and talk about your concerns and goals. A healthcare professional can assess your BMI along with other factors and risks to provide you with a path toward making healthy changes safely.


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