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Cancer risk from obesity rising

Wednesday July 3rd, 2019

The cancer risk from obesity is growing every year and is overtaking other major risk factors, such as smoking, according to Cancer Research UK.

The charity has analysed figures that suggest there are now twice as many obese people in the UK as smokers.

The findings led one senior doctor to accuse the Government of "dragging its heels" on obesity.

But at the same time the favourite to be the next Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, announced plans to dismantle anti-obesity programmes, cancelling sugar taxes and other measures.

Researchers analysed adult population estimates for 2017 from Office for National Statistics and adult obesity rates from 2017 in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Overall, about 14.9 million adults in the UK are currently obese - about 29% of adults. This compares with 7.8 million smokers - about 15% of adults, according to the charity.

Experts at the charity say that smoking remains the UK’s biggest preventable cause of cancer as it brings a much higher risk of the disease than obesity. However, obesity or overweight is more closely linked to bowel, kidney, ovary and liver cancer.

Cancer Research UK’s chief executive, Michelle Mitchell, said: “As smoking rates fall and obesity rates rise, we can clearly see the impact on a national health crisis when the Government puts policies in place – and when it puts its head in the sand.

“Our children could be a smoke-free generation, but we’ve hit a devastating record high for childhood obesity, and now we need urgent Government intervention to end the epidemic. They still have a chance to save lives.”

She called for the Government needs to introduce a 9pm watershed for junk food adverts on TV and online, and restrict promotional offers on unhealthy food and drinks, in order to halve childhood obesity by 2030.

Professor Dame Parveen Kumar, who chairs the British Medical Association's board of science, said: “The Government is dragging its heels in introducing measures to restrict the advertising and promotion of unhealthy food and drink and, as such, we have reached an all-time high for childhood obesity.

“The severity of this problem must not be underestimated. As well as the pressing need to raise public awareness of the worrying link between obesity and multiple types of cancer, we need to see a reversal of the cuts to public health funding so we can prevent children and adults reaching this critical stage. Failure to do so will continue to cost lives.”

Tags: Cancer | Diet & Food | Fitness | UK News

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