Obesity could cause 700,000 new cancer cases within 20 years

obesityA new health report has warned that the growing obesity crisis in the UK could result in more than 700,000 new cancer cases associated with excess weight in the next 20 years.

The stark warning comes from a study published by Cancer Research UK and the UK Health Forum – who say immediate action is required in order to combat Britain’s “alarming” obesity levels.

If current trends continue, the report states that by 2035, obese will be the most prevalent body type for UK adults, with nearly 3 in 4 of people being overweight or obese.

Despite the fact that food and drink goods are now required to clearly display calorie, fat and sugar content, it seems the nation is fatter than ever, with cancers caused by excess weight up by 45% since 1996. A third of our children are obese and are heading towards an early grave unless something is done quickly.

Moreover, estimates are also predicting that again by the year 2035, obesity-related health problems, including diabetes and heart disease, will set the NHS back over £7.5billion per year.

The list of cancers attributed to obesity are both varied and concerning, and include: cancer of the bowel, breast in older women, gallbladder, liver, kidney, womb, pancreatic, oesophageal, and aggressive forms of ovarian and prostate cancer.

Cancer Research UK is also calling for a 20p-per-litre sugary drink tax, an idea that is being repeatedly also called for by the celebrity chef Jamie Oliver. However, thus far the government has held firm and consistently rejected any proposals for a sugar tax, in spite of similar pleas coming from health bodies and MPs.

Oliver has spoken on the urgent need to improve public health: “Being overweight or obese can cause many diseases, including some cancers. But I believe we can prevent the rising trend in obesity in the UK and across the world. Food education is key here. If governments take children’s health more seriously and use education to inspire them, we could have a huge impact on their health and wellbeing.

“We’re raising a generation of children in a society where junk food is cheap, widely advertised and packed full of sugar, so it’s difficult to teach them how to make healthy choices. We need to give these kids a chance to be healthier adults – starting with a tax on sugary drinks to tackle obesity and diet-related disease in young people.”

Next month ministers will publish a long-awaited obesity strategy after worries from health experts that their concerns are not being tackled properly.

The report is also urging the government to take far tougher action through banning junk food adverts between 6am and 9pm to limit the chances of them being seen by children.

Obesity can cause cancer by causing alterations within the body. For women, extra fat may cause the production of excess oestrogen and resulting in the multiplying of cells in the breast and womb.

Moreover, insulin and other growth factors are also at risk of increasing, meaning cells are able to divide a lot faster. The cells in fat can emit inflammatory chemicals which are responsible for cell division, including those with cancer.

Alison Cox, director of cancer prevention at Cancer Research UK, said: “Obesity will be a huge burden to society and the NHS in the near future.

“We must act now to combat this threat and we need the Government to restrict the marketing of sugary food to children.

“Kids are bombarded with advertisements for unhealthy food.

“It’s vital the Government restricts this kind of advertising if we are to give our children the chance for better and healthier lives.”

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