A study in the UK that followed 5.24 million people for 7.5 years identified more than 166,000 who developed at least one of 22 cancers. Each 5-point elevation of BMI above normal (equal to about 30 pounds for a person 5’6″ tall) was associated with significantly higher risk for cancers of the uterus, gallbladder, kidney, liver, colon, cervix, thyroid, ovary, postmenopausal breast, pancreas, rectum, esophagus or stomach, and leukemia (The Lancet, August 30, 2014;384(9945):755-765).
An editorial in the same issue advocates reducing caloric intake and increasing physical activity. Its authors recommended government actions including taxing calorie-dense, nutritionally sparse foods (particularly sugar-sweetened drinks); subsidizing healthier foods; changing agricultural policies; and urban planning to encourage walking and other modes of physical activity (The Lancet, August 30, 2014;384(9945):727 – 728).
In this study, a BMI of 25 or more was considered overweight. You can calculate your BMI using pounds and inches with the formula: BMI = (weight in pounds) x 703/[(height in inches) x (height in inches), or use one of the many online BMI calculators.
The incidence of obesity has increased markedly over the last 25 years and is linked to the rising availability of cheap, calorie-dense and nutritionally poor food and drink (British Medical Journal 2012;345:e5124). Being even a little bit overweight increases your chances of dying prematurely from cancer, heart attacks, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, high blood fats, osteoarthritis and many other diseases. See my report on Intermittent Fasting for weight loss and weight control.