Nearly half of UK adults are unaware that being overweight can cause cancer, according to a poll.
Researchers have estimated that excess weight causes around 4% of all cancers but 48% of people were unaware of the link between excess body fat and the risk of cancer, the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) found.
Studies have found that there are convincing links between being overweight or obese and cancer of the oesophagus, bowel, pancreas, womb lining, kidney, and breast in post-menopausal women.
The survey by WCRF also found that just 38% of people know alcohol and little exercise increases the risk of the disease with 43% unaware that a poor diet had an affect.
And despite media coverage of the link between processed meat and cancer, just 30% of respondents said they were aware it increased the risk.
The WCRF recommends consumers avoid eating processed meats due to evidence that it can cause bowel cancer.
Lucie Galice, general manager of the WCRF, said maintaining a healthy weight was the most important way of avoiding cancer after stopping smoking.
She said: "It is a real concern that so many people are unaware that they can make a difference to their risk of cancer just by eating healthily, being physically active and maintaining a healthy weight."