04 Jul 2019

Cancer Research UK (CRUK) is calling for government intervention to curb the obesity epidemic, as it reveals that obesity is rivalling smoking as a leading cause of many types of cancer. In a new report the charity has revealed that obesity is responsible for more bowel, ovarian, kidney and liver cancers than smoking.

With obese people now outnumbering smokers by two to one, CRUK is warning that the government must prioritise tackling obesity as it is a significant factor in 13 different types of cancer.

Michelle Mitchell, the charity’s chief executive, 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.”

Hear Karis Betts, Health Information Manager, Cancer Research UK talk about behaviour change, and legislation, that is needed to help reduce obesity in the Table Talk Podcast

Simon Stevens, the chief executive of NHS England, said: “Although cancer survival is at a record high, this significant progress is in danger of being undone by the fast-growing epidemic of obesity, given excess weight is linked to 13 types of cancer.

“This study is further proof that obesity is the new smoking, and the NHS can’t win the ‘battle against the bulge’ on its own; families, food businesses and government all need to play their part if we’re to avoid copying America’s damaging and costly example.”