The obesity epidemic has contributed to a massive surge in the number of cancer cases reported across the globe recently, latest research shows.
A study conducted by The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the specialised cancer agency of WHO located at Lyon in France, has amassed solid evidence to label obesity as a major risk factor for cancer as the half a million new cases of the deadly disease (481,000) reported in 2012 were caused by a high body mass index (BMI).
BMI is a number calculated from a person's weight and height, to measure body fat. A body mass index (BMI) of 25 and above is considered to be overweight, while a BMI higher than 30 is obese.
Developed countries (393 000 cases), mainly North America (111,000) reported higher number of cancer cases from obesity, than countries which are less developed (88 000 cases).
In Eastern Europe, about 6.5% of all new cases of cancer were from obesity.
The obesity and cancer link was more obvious in women (5.3%) than men (1.9%). While obesity in women led to cancers of colon, breast and endometrium; in men it contributed to the development of kidney and colon cancers.
Czech Republic (5.5%), Jordan (4.5%), UK (4.4%) and Malta (4.4%) were some of the countries that reported a high prevalence of obesity-related cancer in men, while Barbados (12.7%), Czech Republic (12%), Puerto Rico (11.6%)had a higher rates of the disease in women.
In America, new cases of obesity- related cancers were reported in both men (3.5%) and women (9.5 %).
"The number of cancers linked to obesity and overweight is expected to rise globally along with economic development," Dr Christopher Wild, Director of IARC, said in a news release. "This study stresses the importance of putting in place efficient weight control measures, to curb the high number of cancers associated with excess body weight and to avoid the problems faced by rich countries being repeated in those now undergoing rapid development."
The report published in The Lancet Oncology, raises concern as research in the past has shown that more and more people were becoming obese lately. According to a report published in The Lancet, in the month of May, nearly 2.1 billion people (30% of total population) in the world are obese or overweight currently, compared to 857 million people in 1980.