Media Release

Media backgrounder: Excess weight


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 or visit 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