Our policy on obesity and diet
There is convincing evidence that being overweight or obese increases cancer risk*. After smoking, excess bodyweight is one of the most important modifiable risk factors for cancer. Estimates suggest that current levels of overweight and obesity in the UK could lead to around 19,000 cases of cancer every year.
Tackling obesity is an essential part of cancer and other chronic disease prevention and Cancer Research UK strongly supports initiatives to prevent overweight and obesity, and programmes that encourage and enable people to achieve healthy weights.
To date, awareness of the link between obesity and cancer is low outside the health and scientific community. There is a clear need to raise awareness among the general public of the importance of keeping a healthy bodyweight and the links between overweight and obesity and cancer and to offer guidance about how to maintain a healthy weight.
A comprehensive approach to tackling overweight and obesity
We are calling on the Government to introduce a comprehensive strategy to tackle obesity that includes the following elements:
- Clear, consistent and comprehensible food labelling
- Measures to encourage the food industry to further reformulate their products
- Restrictions on the promotion and marketing of foods high in salt, fat and sugar to children
- Well-funded public education campaigns to explain why and how to exercise dietary control and to increase awareness of appropriate portion sizes
- Initiatives that increase levels of physical activity
- Adequate resourcing and close monitoring by the Treasury and Health departments
Please click on the link below to view our policy statement:
Cancer Research UK has responded to several consultations relating to obesity, diet and food policy.
To find out more about our responses to these consultations, please click on one of the links below:
- March 2010 – The Promotion of lower-fat products, fat reductions for meat products and portion size availability for savoury snacks
- January 2010 – Product placement on television
- November 2009 – Front of pack nutrition labelling for pre-packed foods
- November 2009 – Saturated fat and added sugar reductions, and portion size availability, for biscuits, cakes, pastries, buns, chocolate confectionery and soft drinks
- August 2008 – EC proposals for regulation on the provision of food information to consumers
*Diet, Nutrition and the Prevention of Chronic Disease: Report of a joint WHO/FAO expert consultation, World Health Organisation/Food and Agriculture Organisation: Geneva 2002.
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