Obesity is now a bigger cause of many types of cancer than smoking, scientists has revealed. Excess weight causes thousands of more cases of bowel, kidney, liver and ovarian cancer than cigarettes every year.
Britain has the highest rates of obesity in Western Europe, with rates rising even faster than those in the United States.
About 15 million adults in Britain (29 per cent) are obese, more than double the 6 million adult smokers (14 per cent). This is a reversal from the early 1990s, when 27 per cent of adults smoked and 15 per cent were obese.
NHS boss Simon Stevens said it was “further proof that obesity is the new smoking” and called on all areas of society to do their bit to “avoid copying America’s damaging and costly example”.
The charity urged ministers to take action, and ban junk food adverts on TV and online before 9pm.
The figures were released by Cancer Research UK in the midst of a ‘fat shaming’ row centered around their latest campaign raising awareness of the dangers of obesity. Other measures should include restricting promotional offers on unhealthy food and drinks, it said.
Simone Harding, a counsellor and nutritionist based in Devon, said: ‘Weight stigma is rife across society – the research detailing weight stigma in healthcare, media etc shows us that blaming individuals for a situation that is complex leads to worse outcomes, not better. It creates a bigger problem.’
It’s not the first time the charity has drawn a parallel between smoking and obesity, leading to accusations of shaming people who are overweight.
Danish comedian and body positive campaigner Sofie Hagen criticized calling the advert ‘incredibly damaging’.
She wrote at the time: ‘Society viewing fatness as a negative thing is a thing that kills more than the cancer that you MIGHT get due to MAYBE something to do with you POSSIBLY weighing MORE than a CERTAIN weight POSSIBLY MAYBE.’