Young Queenslanders at risk of obesity-related cancers

An investigation by Cancer Council Queensland has revealed a 129 per cent increase in obesity-related cancers in young Queenslanders over a 30 year period.

From 1982 (when cancer records commenced) to 2012, obesity-related cancers increased by 2.8 per cent each year in Queenslanders aged 20 to 29 years.

Overweight and obesity increases the risk of developing cancers of the bowel, oesophagus, pancreas, kidney, endometrium, ovaries, gallbladder and thyroid.

Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift said the trend was a cause for concern.

“More research is needed to investigate whether obesity has been a contributing factor to the increasing rate of these cancers diagnosed among young Queenslanders over the past three decades.

“The prevalence of adult overweight and obesity in Queensland is the highest in Australia, at 65 per cent, and is a significant threat to cancer control.

“As a community we must support each other to eat a healthy diet, be physically active and maintain a healthy weight.”

Up to one third of all cancers are preventable through healthy lifestyle choices including eating well, exercising and being a healthy weight.

“More than a quarter of Queensland children are overweight or obese, with the number expected to rise significantly in the future,” Ms Clift said.

“Helping our children create healthy, active lifestyles from a young age is vital to their long-term health and happiness.

“Children aged five to 12 years and young adults aged 13 to 17 years should engage in at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity every day.

“There are many ways to help kids move more – walking or riding to school, joining team sports like netball or soccer, or playing in the park instead of spending time on the screen.

“Equally importantly, we need to discourage sedentary activities – even if children are very physically active, they may experience negative health effects from sitting for long periods each day.

“Giving gifts like skipping ropes and balls is a great way to get kids active, along with setting limits on screen time and making the child’s bedroom a TV or computer free zone.”

Queensland schools, childcare centres, workplaces and sports clubs are invited to join the QUEST to lead healthier lives at

More information about Cancer Council Queensland is available via 13 11 20 or

For more information or interviews, please contact:
Katie Clift, Executive Manager, Media and Spokesperson, Cancer Council Queensland
Ph: (07) 3634 5372 or 0409 001 171