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NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study: Impact of Diet and Lifestyle Factors on Cancer Incidence: Body Mass Index

Energy Balance | BMI

For a copy of these publications and others related to the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study, visit the National Cancer Institute.

Adiposity, Adult Weight Change, and Postmenopausal Breast Cancer Risk
Women who gain more than 20 pounds throughout adulthood have an increased risk for postmenopausal breast cancer, according to data collected among 99,039 postmenopausal women in the National Institutes of Health-AARP Diet and Health Study. The increased risk was seen only for women not using menopausal hormone therapy.

Body Mass and Colorectal Cancer Risk in the NIH-AARP Cohort
Excess body weight in both men and women is associated with increased risk of colon cancer, according to data from the National Institutes of Health-AARP Diet and Health Study. The study examined the relation between body mass index (BMI) and colorectal cancer incidence in a prospective cohort of 307,708 men and 209,436 women ages 50-71. Over 3,300 colorectal cancer cases developed during follow up. Colon cancer risk was clearly elevated for men and women who were overweight (25 BMI units or greater), but rectal cancer risk was unrelated to BMI. Even moderate BMI was related to higher risk of colon cancer, suggesting that the optimal strategy for prevention would be to maintain a weight as low as possible within the healthy range (18.5 to 25 BMI units).

Overweight, Obesity, and Mortality in a Large Prospective Cohort of Persons 50 to 71 Years Old
Being obese can be fatal to your health. But what about being moderately overweight? Any excess body weight during midlife increases the risk of premature death.

Further information about the study or individual reports may be obtained by contacting Nancy Wood of AARP at or 202-434-2583.

« back to list of NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study reports

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