A new study from Cancer Research UK has suggested that being overweight or obese could lead to nearly 700,000 new cases of cancer by 2035.
The report, compiled by Cancer Research UK and the UK Health Forum, predicts for the first time the impact of obesity on cancer rates for the next 20 years. If current trends continue, by 2035, around 75 per cent of adults in the UK will be overweight or obese, with more people being obese than overweight by 2030.
According to the study, this could not just lead to thousands of new cancer cases but will also have an impact on the number of people who are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease and stroke.
Overall, this would increase the burden on the NHS as the report predicts that these additional problems with cost the health service a further £2.5 billion a year by 2035, on top of what it already spends on obesity-related disease.
However, the report also shows that small changes to lifestyle can have a significant impact. It predicted that if just one per cent of those in the obese or overweight categories were to become a healthy weight, it would prevent more than 64,000 cancer cases in the next two decades and over the next 20 years save the NHS £300 million in 2035 alone.
Alison Cox, director of cancer prevention at Cancer Research UK, said: “Obesity will be a huge burden to society and the NHS in the near future. We must act now to combat this threat and we need the government to restrict the marketing of sugary food to children."
She said that kids are "bombarded" with adverts for unhealthy food and restricting this type of advertising would help give children a chance of having better and healthier lives.
“We need to attack the obesity problem on many fronts and we must act now. Otherwise our children will pay the price and the next generation will have poorer health, face more disease and die earlier,” Ms Cox warned.
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