Weight-associated cancers vary widely by state, study says

By Tauren Dyson

Dec. 27 (UPI) -- The rates of cancer linked to carrying excess weight vary broadly state-by-state, according to a new study.

The study, published Thursday in JAMA Oncology, examined the proportion of cancer cases that could be attributable to excess body weight known as population attributable fraction, or PAF. The researchers focused on adults over 30, in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.


In all, the study showed a 1.5-fold difference between the lowest and highest state-by-state rates of cancers attributable to weight.

"The proportion of cancers attributable to excess body weight varies among states, but [excess body weight] accounts for at least 1 in 17 of all incident cancers in each state," study authors wrote.

The PAF rates ranged as low as 5.9 percent in Hawaii to as high as 8.3 percent in Washington, D.C.

But some cancer types even had higher state-by-state proportions. For instance, endometrial cancer rates ranged drastically from 36.5 percent in Hawaii to nearly 55 percent in Mississippi.

According to the National Institutes of Health, over two-thirds of adults in the United States are considered overweight or obese.

The American Cancer Society says excess body weight is associated to types of 13 cancers.


Along with cancer risk, excess body weight can cause other health problems like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, joint problems and gallstones.

"Broad implementation of known community- and individual-level interventions is needed to reduce access to and marketing of unhealthy foods (eg, through a tax on sugary drinks) and to promote and increase access to healthy foods and physical activity, as well as preventive care," the researchers wrote.

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