Abridged from http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2009/feb/22/cancer-obesity-link
The growing obesity epidemic in industrialised countries is a leading cause of cancer according to a policy report led by Sir Michael Marmot, professor of epidemiology and public health at University College London.
About seven million people die from cancer worldwide each year, expected to rise to more than 10 million by 2020. The estimated number of new cases annually is set to increase from 10 million now to 16 million by 2020. Overall the toll is predicted to double in the next 40 years.
The new report, to be published on Thursday, will focus is on weight gain and obesity, which leads to around 13,000 cancer cases in the UK every year. The experts urge people to stay slim and abstain from too much fast food, red meat and preserved meat, such as ham and bacon, as well as alcohol.
The panel will call on individuals to take responsibility for themselves and their children, while stressing the need for action from governments, multinational corporations, civil society, industry, workplaces, schools, the media and health professionals.
A Department of Health spokesperson said: "Obesity is the biggest health challenge we face and many people simply don't know that being overweight can lead to major health problems, including cancer. The UK is leading the world when it comes to facing up to the problem and tackling obesity."