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Excess fat linked to cancer

People should aim to sit on the lower end of the healthy weight range to avoid cancer, a landmark report by the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) has claimed.

One of the most comprehensive reports ever published into the link between cancer and diet has found that maintaining a healthy weight with a BMI of 20-25 is one of the most important ways to prevent cancer.

The number of types of cancer where there is “convincing” evidence that body fat is a cause has risen from one to six since the WCRF report was published in 1997.

Michael Marmot, Chair of the WCRF panel, said: “We are recommending that people aim to be as lean as possible within the healthy range, and that they avoid weight gain through adulthood.

“This might sound difficult but this is what the science is telling us more clearly than ever before. The fact is that putting on weight can increase your cancer risk, even if you are still within the healthy range.

“So the best advice for cancer prevention is to avoid weight gain, and if you are already overweight then you should aim to lose weight.”

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Fiona Adshead said: “There is no single solution to tackle obesity and it cannot be tackled by government alone.

“We will only succeed if the problem is recognised, owned and addressed at every level and every part of society.”