Half a million new cancers in 2012 due to obesity

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WHO/Godfrey Xuereb

Nearly half a million new cancer cases per year can be attributed to being overweight or obese, according to a new study by the UN's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).

The study published in the Lancet Oncology, a leading medical journal, finds that high body mass index (BMI) which is a measure of body fat, is a risk factor for cancers, especially those affecting women such as postmenopausal breast cancer.

The analysis shows that cancers of the endometrium, colon, and breast account for 73 per cent of all cancers linked to high BMI in women, while in men kidney and colon cancers together account 66 per cent.

The study also highlights that cancer due to overweight or obesity is currently far more common in more developed countries than in developing ones.

North America remains the most affected, accounting for 23 per cent of the total global cancer burden linked to high BMI.

The World Health Organization says reducing overweight and obesity could have significant health benefits, including reducing the burden of cancer.

Stephanie Castro, United Nations.

Duration: 1’14″

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