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Health expert warns: Obesity is the new smoking
Simon Stevens is the head of the National Health Service (NHS), the UK health authority. At the world's largest cancer conference, the health care professional warned of the massive health effects that the ever-growing number of overweight people have. "Obesity has become a new form of smoking," warns the NHS boss.
The American Society of Clinical Oncology's annual meeting in Chicago is the world's largest cancer conference. At the meeting, NHS boss Simon Stevens gave a lecture in which he warns of the consequences of being overweight. In the UK, obesity has become one of the most important health problems. Almost every third adult is overweight. The proportion has doubled since 1993. If this development continues, obesity will replace smoking as the most common cause of cancer.
Obesity causes cancer
Stevens warns that too many people are not yet aware that being overweight is associated with an increased risk of cancer. Today's widely practiced lifestyle with little exercise and high-fat and sugar-rich nutrition make decades of medical progress fall. There is already a significant increase in the number of cancer cases associated with obesity.
Steven presents the current forecasts of the NHS. According to this, 22,800 cancers associated with obesity were registered in 2015. If this trend continues, there will be around 36,800 such cases annually in 2030 - almost twice as many. "Although cancer survival rates are at a record high, many people still don't know that being overweight is one of the strongest risk factors for cancer," explains Stevens. Forecasts show that there will be 100 new overweight cancers in England every day by 2030.
Nobody can do this task alone
"If the population continues to grow like this, we will face thousands of preventable cancer deaths every year," said the NHS chief. Stevens emphasizes that the health agency cannot win this fight alone. Food companies, governments and everyone themselves must do their part.
Weight gains negate clinical success
Dr. Jennifer Ligibel, an expert at Harvard University, supported Stevens' speech. She provided evidence that being overweight also leads to increased rates of breast cancer. A recent study showed that every 5.5 kg of weight increased the risk of disease by up to eight percent. Ligibel fears that the rapid rise in obesity could soon reverse medical success in cancer. "It is very worrying: We are making great strides in cancer therapy and treatment, but there is a risk that obesity will undermine all of this," Ligibel warns.
People desperately need more help with losing weight
“There is a clear connection between cancer and obesity. We know that this poses a higher risk for a dozen different types of cancer, ”summarizes the cancer expert. People would need a lot more weight loss support. For example, targeted weight loss programs could help make long-term lifestyle changes. It is about keeping the body in a healthy weight range. This can be achieved through regular exercise and a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables, lean meat and low alcohol consumption. (vb)