Questions About Cancer? 1-800-4-CANCER

Understanding Cancer Series

  • Posted: 04/07/2006
  • Reviewed: 11/04/2010

Slide 17

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Overweight and Exercise

Being overweight is an important lifestyle factor related to cancer risk. There are links between obesity and the risks of breast cancer (in older women), endometrial cancer, and cancers of the kidney, colon, and esophagus. Not being physically active increases the risk of colorectal and breast cancers.

Together, obesity and physical inactivity are linked to about 30 percent of the cases of colon, endometrial, kidney, and esophageal cancers, as well as 30 percent of breast cancers in older women.

Losing weight and exercising can help reduce your risk. Exercise at least 30 minutes a day, most days of the week. Exercise alone can decrease the risk of colon cancer and breast cancer. The goal should be for adults age 20 or older to keep their Body Mass Index (BMI) below 25. The BMI is a number that shows your body weight adjusted for your height.

Overweight and Exercise