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14 December 2020

EVIDENCE LINKING OBESITY AND CANCER

Dr Edward L. Giovannucci

Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, USA

Excess body weight has been linked to a higher risk of 13 types of cancer. About 8% of all cancers in the USA have been attributed to having a body mass index (BMI) of more than 25 kg/ m2 (overweight and obese). In non-smokers, approximately 20% of cancers are attributable to excess adiposity. In the USA, most obesity-related cancers have been increasing in people younger than 50 years, alongside increasing rates of obesity. Mechanisms that underlie this include increases in estrogens, insulin and related growth-promoting hormones, and inflammation. Improved diet, more physical activity, and maintaining a normal body weight can help reduce the burden of cancer worldwide.

STRATEGIES TO SUPPORT CHANGES IN BODY SIZE – INDIVIDUAL AND PUBLIC HEALTH PERSPECTIVES

Dr Annie S. Anderson

Professor of Public Health Nutrition

University of Dundee, Scotland

Actions at the policy level potentially offer equitable approaches to assist the population to achieve desirable changes in weight-related behaviours. There are many parallels with tobacco control that offer an evidence-based route for action related to reduced caloric consumption. While we wait for governments to implement such policies, globally more than 1.9 billion adults are overweight or living with obesity and increased cancer risk. Weight management support, beyond education and awareness-raising, is limited and deserves further investment both in practice and in research.

CHAIR

Dr Marc Gunter

Head of the Section of Nutrition and Metabolism

International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lyon, France

About Dr Marc Gunter

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