Obesity is the biggest preventable cause of cancer after smoking. Scotland has the worst obesity rates in the UK. Two-thirds of adults and over one-quarter of children are overweight or obese. Excess weight costs NHS Scotland an estimated £600 million a year, with wider societal and economic costs of up to £4.6 billion.
That’s why the College supports Obesity and Cancer Awareness Week in order to highlight this serious issue.
Obesity is the biggest preventable cause of cancer after smoking. Obesity is linked to 13 different types of cancer, including two of the most common – bowel and breast – and two of the hardest to treat – pancreatic and oesophageal.
Extra fat in the body can have harmful effects, like producing hormones and growth factors that affect the way our cells work. This can raise the risk of several diseases, including cancer.
Yet public awareness is low: only a quarter of Scottish adults know that being overweight can cause cancer.
Scotland’s levels of overweight and obesity are the worst in the UK, and among the worst in OECD countries:
- Two-thirds of adults, and over one-quarter of children are overweight or obese.
- Obese children are five times more likely to become obese adults.
Every year, excess weight is estimated to cost up to £600 million to NHS Scotland, and £4.6bn in wider economic impacts of lost productivity and absenteeism. None of the Scottish Dietary Goals on saturated fat, sugar consumption or fruit and vegetable intake have been met in the last 15 years.
You can get more information on this important campaign, and on the work of Obesity Action Scotland in campaigning on this issue, here