Article

Data Trends 2022: The Cancer-Obesity Connection

The incidence of overweight and obesity in the veteran population is steadily rising and is higher than that of the general United States population.1,2 While there are many factors that increase an individual’s risk of developing cancer, higher BMI has been associated with at least 13 types of cancer.1,3

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  • A study comparing VHA employees found some significant differences between veteran and civilian employees.5

  • Cancers linked to obesity3,6
    In the United States, incidences of many of the cancers linked to obesity are projected to signficantly increase in the coming years. Percentages represent projected increases from 2015 to 2050.

  • Lipids and breast cancer7
    In a study of participants in the Million Veteran Program, researchers found that generic variants connected to increases in lipid levels are consistently linked with breask cancer risk.

  • Lipids and breast cancer7
    In a study of participants in the Million Veteran Program, researchers found that generic variants connected to increases in lipid levels are consistently linked with breask cancer risk.

  • It has been more than two decades since the VHA initiated the MOVE! Weight Management Program for Veterans (MOVE!), designed to improve the lives of veterans through encouraging healthy eating behavior, increasing physical activity, and promoting even small weight losses.8 Since March 2020, the proportion of participants accessing MOVE! via telehealth modalities jumped from 30% to 90%. While the program has yielded promising results for over 300,000 participants and continued to be accessible during the pandemic, overall participation dipped 20% to 40% by early 2021.9,10 As COVID-19 cases plateau and in-person activities resume, patients may find it challenging to re-establish positive habits.


 

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