Cancer warning for the high proportion of overweight in Havering
PUBLISHED: 11:23 06 April 2018 | UPDATED: 11:23 06 April 2018
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The scale of the risks for people in Havering, where 61 per cent are overweight or obese, has been underlined by figures from the NHS.
Being overweight could overtake smoking as the biggest preventable cause of cancer, according to a new study.
The warning on weight comes from Cancer Research UK in a study that found nearly 40pc of all cancers could be avoided with lifestyle changes.
The biggest preventable cause of cancer is smoking. Nationally more people have been giving up the habit.
According to the latest figures, 15pc of people classed themselves as smokers in 2016 in Havering, with men more likely to smoke than women.
A Havering Council spokesman said: “Obesity is a major issue both nationally and locally, and residents should be aware of the serious health risks it can cause.
“With a quarter of local children overweight or obese when they start school at age of 4-5, the council has developed a Prevention of Obesity Strategy.
“It aims to give children the best start possible, by encouraging breastfeeding, working with local schools to provide healthier options and promote physical activity.”
Smoking is responsible for 282 deaths in every 100,000 people over 35 in Havering.
But Cancer Research UK warns that the growing waistlines will pose serious new threat to health.
Chief Executive Sir Harpal Kumar said: “Obesity is potentially the new smoking, if we’re not careful.
“My sense would be it’ll be some time in next couple of decades that we’ll see those two switch around.”
The study found that smoking remains the biggest preventable cause of cancer - responsible for around 55,000 cases nationally in 2015/16.
Excess weight is the second biggest preventable cause with around 22,800 cases attributed to people being overweight or obese.
The research published in the British Journal of Cancer shows that obesity causes 13 different types of cancer, including bowel, breast, womb and kidney, and more than one in 20 cases could be prevented by maintaining a healthy weight.
Havering Council has launched a Veggie Run, a new app for primary school children in the borough to encourage healthy eating.