Overweight people know they are putting their lives at risk but cannot muster the willpower to lose the necessary weight, a study has concluded.
Cancer Research UK discovered that although nearly two-thirds of overweight people know their girth could have serious consequences for their health, they carry on piling on the pounds regardless.
The charity went on to reveal that the number of cancer cases linked to weight is rising rapidly, especially kidney and womb cancer. Being unable to resist the lure of fatty foods is the main barrier to maintaining a healthy weight - with 68% of women and 60% of men saying a lack of willpower is the reason why they weigh an excessive amount.
Charity chief executive Dr Harpal Kumar said: “Unless we tackle the obesity epidemic in the UK, we risk cancer cases soaring. We understand that it can be extremely hard for people to maintain a healthy weight but keeping those extra pounds at bay could ultimately save your life.”
Professor Jane Wardle, from Cancer Research UK’s Health Behaviour Research Centre at University College London, said: “For both men and women, being overweight is - after smoking - the most important risk factor for cancer.
“What many people don’t realise is that extra fat around the middle, their muffin top, is surprisingly active, releasing hormones and other chemicals that can make cells in the body divide far more often than usual, which can increase the risk of cancer.”
Some 2,011 people were polled for this study.