Spotlighting obesity link to cancer

Obesity is set to overtake smoking as the biggest preventable cause of cancer among women in the UK
Obesity is set to overtake smoking as the biggest preventable cause of cancer among women in the UK
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A new campaign has been launched to raise awareness of the link between obesity and cancer.


The crusade by Cancer Research UK coincides with the publication of its new report which shows the scale of the problem.

And the charity has renewed its call for Government action, particularly on “junk food” advertising to children and price promotions on “unhealthy” foods in supermarkets.

According to the latest Cancer Research UK figures, obesity is set to overtake smoking as the biggest preventable cause of cancer among women in the UK in 25 years’ time.

If trends continue as projected, by 2043 excess weight could cause even more cases of cancer than smoking in women.

In the North West, 58 per cent of women are overweight or obese, while 15 per cent smoke.

Obesity has a greater effect on women, even though more males than females are overweight or obese. This is because some of the most common obesity-related cancers – such as breast and womb cancers - predominantly affect women.

Being overweight or obese as an adult increases the risk of 13 different types of cancer including breast, bowel and kidney cancer. However, only around one in seven people in the UK are aware of the link.

For this reason, Cancer Research UK is running a month-long awareness campaign in the North West to highlight the risk.

Huge posters will be on display at prominent sites across the region, including at bus stops and on billboards.

The intriguing posters highlight the gaps in people’s knowledge where, like a word game, missing letters in the word “obesity” challenge the public to guess what is the biggest preventable cause of cancer after smoking.

Alison Barbuti, Cancer Research UK spokesperson for the North West, said: “Fifty years ago most people didn’t know that smoking causes cancer.

“Today, we’re bringing the link between obesity and cancer to the public’s attention to ensure that people are aware of the facts.”