The UK is largely oblivious to the fact that being overweight increases the risk of cancer, according to a new survey, with people considering appearance to be a more important benefit of losing weight.
According to Cancer Research UK, 40 per cent of people think improving physical attractiveness is a key benefit of losing weight, compared to less than a third of individuals who view being at a lower risk of cancer as a key benefit.
While two thirds of respondents appreciated the link between keeping fit and lowering the risk of heart disease, the majority did not realise that it also lowers the risk of cancer, the charity said.
Obesity is the most easily preventable cause of cancer in people who do not smoke, according to the charity.
Being overweight is strongly associated with cancer of the bowels, stomach and kidneys, while it also increases the risk of womb and breast cancer in post-menopausal women.
However, losing weight does not come easily for many people and the number of patients electing to have obesity surgery in the UK is growing as a result.
As well as decreasing the risk of cancers, obesity surgery can also help to reduce other obesity-related illnesses, including diabetes and heart complications.