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Weight warnings not getting through

Many overweight people do not want to lose weight — in part, it seems, because most of them do not realise just how dangerous obesity can be.

More than a quarter of obese and overweight people did not want to lose weight according to a survey of over 4000 men and women by Cancer Research UK.

More than half of the men and women surveyed were overweight or obese but 71% of those at risk of cancer and other health problems because of their weight did not know of the cancer connection. Many people did not know whether they were overweight or obese. in fact, 87% of obese people did not identify themselves as such.

The figures suggest that despite the massive publicity around weight issues, the message is not really getting through.

Nearly 50% of obese and overweight people did not believe that eating healthily could help reduce cancer risk; almost two thirds (64%) were unaware that regular exercise could reduce risk and more than 80% did not know the importance of maintaining a healthy body weight.

Being obese or overweight is one of the most significant preventable causes of cancer in non-smokers yet rates of obesity are increasing. Obesity is linked with an increased risk of bowel, kidney, oesophageal and stomach cancers, as well as cancer of the womb and breast cancer in post-menopausal women.

Dr Lesley Walker, director of cancer information at Cancer Research UK, said: 't's worrying to think that people are in denial about their weight. People who are carrying extra weight face significant health risks including cancer.

'Obesity is one of the biggest known preventable causes of cancer for those who don't smoke. These results show far too many of those at greatest risk are choosing to ignore their weight. They are unaware of their increased risk of cancer and unaware of many of the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.'

The survey was released to coincide with a new weight-loss campaign launched by Cancer Research UK and Weight Concern. However, the figures must raise doubts about whether traditional weight-loss campaigns are really working.

Page created on January 9th, 2006

Page updated on December 1st, 2009