A man walked past the New York Stock Exchange after trading hours in New York City, Aug. 17, 2009. REuters

Obesity has been on the rise throughout the past few decades in the U.S., with more than 36.5 percent of adults considered to be highly overweight. The disease, known to cause a host of health issues, was observed in a recent study that revealed strong evidence suggesting a tie between obesity and an increased risk of 11 types of cancer.

The cancers that researchers from the International Agency for Research on Cancer found linked to obesity included cancer of the breast, kidney, ovary, colon, endometrium, bone marrow, biliary tract system, pancreas, rectum, gastric cardia and esophagus. The findings were a result of analyzed data from 204 prior studies researching the connection between cancers and body fat.

“I think now the public and physicians really need to pay attention to obesity with respect to cancer. Telling people to avoid being overweight not only reduces their risk of, say, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, it also reduces their risk of many different cancers,” co-author of the research Marc Gunter told The Guardian.

The study did not provide concrete evidence as to how obesity has a connection to an increased chance of developing cancer, but Gunter suggested that “disruption of hormonal and metabolic pathways” could affect how cells are divided. The consensus remained, however, that a conscientious effort to stay healthy and in shape will aid in lowering chances of getting cancer.

“Whether it’s taking the stairs or switching to sugar-free versions of your favorite drinks, small changes can make a real difference, helping you keep a healthy weight and reducing your risk of cancer,” said Cancer Research UK’s health information officer Dr. Rachel Orritt.

In addition to a healthy lifestyle, the CDC recommended that screening for certain types of cancer like breast, colorectal and cervical help in finding cancerous cells in their early stages. Vaccines like the human papillomavirus vaccine also assist in preventing cervical cancer.