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expert reaction to report into obesity and cancer

Cancer Research UK has published a report into the impact of obesity on cancer rates, which predicts that 72% of the UK adult population would be predicted to become overweight or obese by 2035, which would significantly impact on health and related costs.


Prof. Susan Jebb, Professor of Diet and Population Health, Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford, said:

“This report usefully highlights the importance of weight control to prevent cancer and uses robust national survey data to estimate the likely increase in the number of people affected by cancer unless trends in obesity are curtailed, using a standard model developed for the Government Office for Science Foresight report on obesity.

“There is growing awareness of the links between obesity and diabetes or heart disease, but the links to cancer are less well recognised. Most people know that smoking causes cancer, but fortunately, most people in the UK now don’t smoke and for them, managing their weight is the single most important thing they can do to reduce their risk of cancer.

“The suggestions for interventions to help curb rising weight are not new but are timely reminders of the array of options for government ahead of the publication of their new obesity strategy. Early prevention of obesity is crucial, but the report overlooks the need to save lives now by investing in effective support for the many people who are already overweight. This will benefit individuals affected by obesity but also wider society. The report shows that just a 1% year-on-year reduction in obesity would save the NHS £300m a year.”


Tipping the scales: Why preventing obesity makes economic sense’ published by Cancer Research UK on Thursday 7th January. 


Declared interests

Prof. Susan Jebb: Susan Jebb is conducting research into the treatment of obesity, some of which include support from WeightWatchers, Slimming World and the Cambridge Weight Plan.

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