Chinese researchers have found that excess body fat may put people at increased risk of 18 types of cancer.
The research, conducted over four years, is based on body mass index (BMI) calculations involving 40 million samples.
BMI is calculated as weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a BMI between 19 and 24 is considered normal and healthy, while a BMI between 25 and 29 is overweight, and a BMI over 30 is obese.
Researchers from Zhejiang University announced that a higher BMI would significantly increase the risk of 18 cancers, and the types of cancer most sensitive to weight gain are endometrial cancer and esophageal cancer. For each five-point increase in BMI, the risk of endometrial cancer and esophageal cancer increases by 48 percent and 45 percent, respectively.
Researchers also found that there was a gender difference in obesity-related cancers. Women with higher BMIs are more likely to suffer from brain and kidney cancer than men.
The research, led by Professor Wang Fudi and Professor Min Junxia, was published recently in the "International Journal of Cancer."
According to the WHO, about 2.2 billion people, or one-third of the world's population, are overweight or obese, including more than 100 million children and 600 million adults.
"To prevent cancer and other chronic diseases, people must control obesity through good dietary habits and more exercise," said Wang.