Cancers attributable to overweight and obesity in Italy

Matteo Di Maso, Claudio Pelucchi, Giulia Collatuzzo, Gianfranco Alicandro, Matteo Malvezzi, Fabio Parazzini, Eva Negri, Paolo Boffetta, Carlo La Vecchia, Federica Turati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background & aims: Overweight and obesity are associated with multiple cancers. We quantified the burden of cancer attributable to overweight and obesity in Italy. Methods: We estimated sex- and cancer site-specific population attributable fractions (PAFs) combining relative risks (from recent meta-analyses) with national obesity prevalence data (from a large sample survey conducted in 2005, to account for a 15-year lag period). Using nationwide mortality statistics and cancer registries data, we estimated the number of cancer cases and deaths attributable to overweight and obesity in Italy in 2020, based on the counterfactual scenario of a body mass index < 25 kg/m2. Results: 3.6% of cancers in men and 4.0% in women in Italy were attributable to overweight and obesity, corresponding, respectively, to over 6900 and 7200 diagnoses in 2020. Attributable deaths were over 3600 in men and 2700 in women. PAFs (attributable cases) of overweight and obesity in men and women were, respectively, 38.1% (215 cases) and 21.8% (49 cases) for esophageal adenocarcinoma, 19.1% (1715 cases) and 14.5% (585 cases) for liver, 18.7% (1692 cases) and 16.7% (747 cases) for kidney, 13.7% (938 cases) and 10.1% (749 cases) for pancreatic, and 10.2% (2389 cases) and 3.4% (690 cases) for colorectal cancers. In women, PAFs were 22.3% (1859 cases) for endometrial and 5.7% (2556 cases) for post-menopausal breast cancer. Conclusions: The cancer burden associated with overweight and obesity in Italy is considerable, but smaller compared to other high income countries, likely because of the lower prevalence of overweight and obesity in the Italian population.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102468
JournalCancer Epidemiology
StatePublished - Dec 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Attributable fraction
  • Cancer burden
  • Epidemiology
  • Italy
  • Overweight and obesity


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