Our policy on obesity and diet

Being overweight is the biggest single preventable cause of cancer after smoking and causes ten types of cancer. 

This includes two of the most common cancers - bowel and breast - and two of the hardest to treat - pancreatic and oesophageal.

Tackling the unhealthy factors that lead to a poor diet and excessive weight can help reduce the risk of cancer in the UK.

Over the past three decades there has been a substantial increase in weight and a decline in the quality of diets in the UK.

And if this continues, our research predicts almost four in ten adults could be clinically obese by 2035, causing 670,000 new cases of cancer in the process.

We need to develop a comprehensive strategy that creates an environment where healthier choices become the norm if we are to reverse the rise of obesity and improve diets.

This approach needs to reduce the promotion and availability of unhealthy food to children, and to make it easier for everyone to eat better and exercise more. Particular policies we want to see include:

  • A ban on junk food adverts on TV before 9pm
  • The introduction of a tax on drinks with added sugar
  • Government-led targets for the food industry to reduce levels of sugar, salt and fat in everyday foods


Short and sweet: why the Government should introduce a sugary drinks tax

February 2016

Download report [PDF]

Tipping the scales: why preventing obesity makes economic sense

January 2016

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Response to the Committee of Advertising Practise's Consultation on Advertising Food and Drink Products to Children

July 2016

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Response to the Health Select Committee Inquiry into Physical Activity and Diet

December 2014

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Response to Scottish Government’s consultation for the creation of a new food body for Scotland

August 2013

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Joint response to Government’s consultation on front of pack labelling

August 2012

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Press Releases

Public back ban on children's junk food advertising

February 2016

Download press release


Policy Blogs

Obesity and cancer - time for concerted action

January 2016

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As seen on TV! Why reducing children's exposure to junk food marketing is a good idea

October 2015

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Giving sugar its fix: Public Health England recommends halving sugar consumption targets

July 2015

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Obesity Health Alliance

Joint Policy Position on Childhood Obesity

November 2015

 Download report [PDF]

We are a steering group member of the Obesity Health Alliance, a coalition of organisations committed to share expertise and support Government to tackle the complex issue of overweight and obesity in the UK.

Contact us

Get in touch with our policy team to find out more information about our policy on preventing cancer.

Call our policy team for more information.

020 3469 8360 

Email the team

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