New data from Cancer Research UK indicate that the number of obese individuals is twice that of smokers in the UK, and that excessive weight leads to more cases of some cancers than smoking.
Although smoking still remains the primary preventable cause of cancer in the UK, being overweight or obese outweighs smoking as the leading cause of four types of cancer. It is estimated that excess weight is responsible for ~1900 more cases of bowel cancer each year than smoking in the UK. Similar concerns are evident for renal cancer (1400 more cases), ovarian cancer (460 more cases) and liver cancers (180 more cases).
Cancer Research UK recently launched a nationwide campaign to raise awareness about the link between obesity and cancer. It has been urging the Government to implement strong measures to end the epidemic of childhood obesity. Some of its recommendations to the Government include a 9 PM deadline for junk food advertisements on television and the Internet and restricted promotion of unhealthy food and drinks.
Michelle Mitchell, Chief Executive of Cancer Research UK, 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."