The Connection Between Obesity and Cancer in Indiana

With cancer being the second leading cause of death in Indiana, it is no surprise that many cancer control efforts focus on the prevention of cancer. Estimates suggest that about one third of cancers could be prevented by making maintaining a healthy weight and staying physically active.

The Cancer Control Section at the Indiana State Department of Health and the ICC are committed to the primary prevention of cancer, and are pleased to introduce “The Burden of Obesity Related Cancers and the Promotion of Physical Activity in Indiana.” This report details cancers associated with overweight and obesity and discusses ways physical activity can be promoted as a public health intervention.

The report also highlights current overweight and obesity and physical activity trends among adults and children in Indiana, and bodies of literature recommending evidence-based and promising strategies to increase physical activity. Lastly, the report discusses what we in Indiana, specifically the ICC and Cancer Control Section, in conjunction with statewide partners, are doing to promote physical activity and decrease the burden of cancer, especially as it aligns with our coalition’s policy agenda:

  • Increase the number of complete streets policies
  • Require schools provide 30 minutes a day, or 150 minutes a week, of physical activity in elementary schools.

The ICC asks you to use the report to educate communities, organizations, school districts, employers, and decision makers about the burden of obesity related cancers, the current state of physical activity, and overweight and obesity trends in Indiana. We need to continue educating key stakeholders about evidence-based physical activity strategies aimed at improving levels of physical activity and inform them of how policy, systems, and environmental change strategies in schools and communities do encourage physical activity. In Indiana, the healthy choice needs to be the easy choice.

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