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Media backgrounder: Excess weight

08 May 2019

Toronto -

Key findings from ComPARe: Excess weight

• Currently, more than 1 out of every 2 Canadian adults has excess weight

• Excess weight increases the risk for at least 13 different types of cancer

• For the purpose of the ComPARe study, excess weight includes both overweight and obesity and is defined by a body mass index (BMI) of at least 25kg/m2

• Excess weight as measured by BMI is recognized as a cancer risk factor by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF)

• Excess weight is expected to become the second leading preventable cause of cancer in Canada by 2042, after tobacco

• The number of new cancer cases due to excess weight will nearly triple by 2042, increasing from 7,200 to 21,200

• If more Canadians had a healthy body weight, about 110,600 cases of cancer could be prevented by 2042

• The type of cancers that are most strongly associated with excess weight are esophageal adenocarcinoma and endometrial cancer

• Excess weight increases the risk of esophageal adenocarcinoma and endometrial cancer by about 50%. It increases the risk of kidney, gallbladder, stomach cardia and liver cancers by 20-30%

Reducing cancer risk due to excess weight

• CCS recognizes obesity as a chronic disease. The causes of obesity are complex and encompass social, economic, physiological, environmental and political factors

• No one policy option will solve the increasing incidence of overweight and obesity in Canada. Coordinated and comprehensive action is necessary across all levels of government and across a number of different sectors to reduce obesity, including making healthy food and physical activity choices easier for Canadians

• Actions that can be taken to help tackle obesity include:
  • taking steps to prevent childhood obesity
  • enacting healthy public policies that we know will work to reduce excess weight
  • improving access to obesity treatment
  • addressing weight bias and obesity stigma in our workplace, healthcare and education systems
  • continuing to research causes and treatment
• CCS supports physical activity through active transportation partnerships and advocates for healthy public policies to help make healthy eating accessible for everyone including:
  • revisions to Canada’s Food Guide
  • introducing front-of-package labelling
  • restricting marketing to kids
  • introducing a manufacturers’ levy on sugary drinks
For more information on the results of the ComPARe study, please visit prevent.cancer.ca or visit cancer.ca/prevention to learn more about how you can lower your cancer risk.
ComPARe study media release

ComPARe study backgrounder

For more information, please contact:

Brooke Kelly

Communications Coordinator

Canadian Cancer Society

National office

Phone: 416-934-5321