Obesity overtakes smoking as the leading cause of major cancer

Published: July 4, 2019


Obesity has overtaken smoking as the leading cause of major cancers, according to new research conducted on the effects of weight in Britain, reported BBC.

Smoking is still the biggest cause of cancer but Cancer Research UK (CRUK) has warned everyone to tackle obesity through a prompt action plan because it is a significant contributing factor to 13 different types of cancers. Obese people now outnumber smokers by two to one.



Excess weight is now fuelling 4,000 more cases of bowel, kidney, ovarian and liver cancer than smoking, the study found. Nearly all of the evidence links obesity to cancer.

However, data from observational studies can be difficult to interpret and cannot definitively establish that obesity causes cancer. Obese people may differ from lean people in terms of body fat and it is possible that these differences — other than their body fat — are what explains their propensity for developing cancer.



Prof Linda Bauld, CRUK’s prevention expert 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.”

Around 13.4 million non-smoking adults are obese, 2017 data shows.  Meanwhile, 6.3 million smokers are not obese. In addition, there are 1.5 obese adults who smoke.

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