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Excess Body Weight Responsible for Nearly 4 PCT of Cancers Worldwide: Study

WASHINGTON: Scientists have found links between obesity and certain cancers. Now a new study indicated that excess body weight was responsible for nearly 4 per cent of all cancers worldwide in 2012.

In 2012, excess body weight accounted for approximately 544,300 cancers, or 3.9 per cent of all cancers worldwide, according to the study published Tuesday in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society.

The figure “will undoubtedly rise in the coming decades’ given current trends,” researchers wrote in a press release.

A total of 46 per cent of cancer cases attributable to excess body weight occurred in high-income Western countries in 2012, the study showed.

Despite a relatively low prevalence of excess body weight, the East and South-Eastern Asia region had the second largest share, or 16 per cent, because of its large population and a high burden of liver cancer, it explained.

Oceania had the lowest rate of only 0.1 per cent, while the rates in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia both registered a relatively low level of 2 per cent.

Policies, economic systems and marketing practices that promote the consumption of energy-dense, nutrient-poor food, as well as insufficient physical activity, are driving a worldwide rise in excess body weight, the study said.

“There is emerging consensus on opportunities for obesity control through the multisectoral coordinated implementation of core policy actions to promote an environment conducive to a healthy diet and active living,” researchers wrote.

“The rapid increase in both the prevalence of excess body weight and the associated cancer burden highlights the need for a rejuvenated focus on identifying, implementing, and evaluating interventions to prevent and control excess body weight,” they added.