Overweight and cancer

Ann Intern Med. 1985 Dec;103(6 ( Pt 2)):1034-6. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-103-6-1034.


In a prospective study, mortality ratios were computed in relation to overweight, cancer, and other diseases. The study included 750 000 men and women followed for 12 years. Each person was given a weight index. Death rates for overweight and underweight persons were compared with rates for persons of average weight. Men who were 40% or more overweight had a mortality ratio for cancer of 1.33; women, 1.55. This ratio was much lower than that for coronary heart disease (men, 1.95; and women, 2.07); diabetes (5.19 and 7.90), and digestive diseases (3.99 and 2.29). Overweight men had significantly higher mortality ratios for colorectal and prostate cancer; overweight women had much higher rates for cancer of the endometrium, gall bladder, and cervix; and also significantly higher rates for ovary and breast cancer.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • American Cancer Society
  • Body Weight
  • Cerebrovascular Disorders / mortality
  • Coronary Disease / mortality
  • Diabetes Mellitus / mortality
  • Digestive System Diseases / mortality
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / mortality*
  • Prospective Studies
  • United States