Obesity is set to overtake smoking as the biggest preventable cause of cancer in women

obesity to overtake smoking as biggest preventable cause of cancer in women

According to a new report written by Cancer Research UK, in the next 25 years, obesity is set to overtake smoking as the biggest preventable cause of cancer among UK women.

Currently, 12% of cancers in women are linked to smoking and 7% to being overweight and obese. Yet with the number of female smokers falling and obesity rates projected to rise, the charity estimates this gap will disappear.

Cancer Research UK’s projections calculate that by 2035, 10% of cancers in women (around 25,000 cases) could be related to smoking, whilst 9% (around 23,000 cases) to carrying excess weight. If the current rising obesity trends in the UK continue, by 2043, being overweight and obese could be linked to even more cases of cancer than smoking in women.

The report explains that whilst there are more males than females who are overweight or obese, “obesity has a greater effect on women, as some of the most common obesity-related cancers predominantly affect them – such as breast and womb cancers.”

With this in mind, Cancer Research UK is launching a campaign to increase the awareness that obesity is a cause of cancer.

Professor Linda Bauld, Cancer Research UK’s prevention expert, said: “Obesity is a huge public health threat right now, and it will only get worse if nothing is done. The UK Government must build on the lessons of smoking prevention to reduce the number of weight-related cancers by making it easier to keep a healthy weight and protect children, as those who are overweight are five times more likely to be so as an adult.”

How can running help?

If you’re looking to lose weight, running is a great place to start. As a professor of health puts it in our running for weight loss tips, it’s less expensive than joining a gym and all you need is a pair of trainers to get started. 

With plenty of beginner’s running plans and nutrition advice, no matter how fit you are, we’re here to guide you to becoming a runner in a few simple steps. Need more inspiration? Take a look at these 14 RW readers who transformed their bodies through running