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Obesity may double cancer cases

The number of people with cancer could double in the next 40 years unless steps are taken to stem the rising tide of obesity, it has been claimed.

Professor Martin Wiseman, medical and scientific adviser at the World Cancer Research Fund, said today's children face a future blighted by the disease unless something is done to curb obesity rates.

Speaking ahead of a conference organised by the charity and the Association for the Study of Obesity (ASO), Professor Wiseman said there could be a dramatic rise in the number of people with cancer.

Figures suggest that a third of women and half of men will be obese in the next 40 years, he said.

He continued: "The evidence now shows that, after not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight is the most important thing you can do for cancer prevention.

"This means that if rates of obesity continue to rise then this will have serious consequences for cancer rates in the UK.

"Unless something happens soon to stop the increase in obesity then we are sleepwalking towards a situation where the UK will be facing more cancer cases than ever before."

Copyright © PA Business 2008

World Cancer Research Fund

Were you aware of the link between obesity and cancer? It's the same old question - but just what works in the fight against obesity?

Your comments: (Terms and conditions apply)

"In obesity prevention, in as much as individuals need to be sensible and learn to strike a balance between how much they eat and the amount of physical activity they do, the government needs to apply some control measures to what is sold in shops eg cakes, crisps, uhhealty fatty foods in general. Sometimes even adults need some sort of help to change their behaviour. When you enter some shops, they make food so attractive to customers that you can't resist the temptation. The packaging is so colourfully decorated and appealing to the eyes. Also, they reduce the prices, eg, half price or buy one get one free. When you take kids shopping, this is the first thing they see. On the other hand, healthy foods such as fruits and veg are not colourfully packaged and most times they are expensive. Again, vending machines in leisure centres have chocolates, crisps, I can go on all night. After taking my children swimming, when coming out from the changing room, the first thing that catches your eyes is this machine and my children will always go for it. They look forward to going swimming every saturday because of this machine. I keep thinking I wish I had the power to change this and replace its contents with healthy options." - Lovett Okeke, Borehamwood

"As the manager of a specialist weight management service the links between obesity and some cancers were known to me. As to the question of 'what works' we need more services that are able to provide dietary, physical activity and psychological advice/guidance/support - be that from the public or private sector. It is not sufficient to have targets to reduce childhood obesity; we also need to address the numbers of adults who are
currently overweight or obese." - Wendy Hicks

"It's educating parents to realise that cooking from scratch provides all the nutritional needs of the family, as nothing is put into the food other than what is meant to be in it. The quick-fix foodstuffs available now that weren't available years ago that both children and adults are now addicted to are the culprits of obesity in both children and adults. Parents need to be more assertive when children ask for food from fast food outlets, saying 'no' and not using it as a treat for the children." - Yvonne Gregory, Stockport