Obesity plays a role in as many as 12 types of cancer, according to a major analysis of the causes of the disease. The report by the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) found that while smoking remains the biggest cause of cancer, it may soon be overtaken by obesity in many countries. In an earlier version of the report, released a decade ago, the WCRF identified seven cancers linked to obesity. Now, it says, the evidence points to 12: liver, ovaries, prostate (advanced), stomach, mouth and throat, bowel, breast (post-menopause), gall bladder, kidney, oesophagus, pancreas and womb. The report says that up to four in ten cancer cases are preventable, and urges non-smokers to adopt a ten-point health plan, which includes cutting down on bacon and processed meats, being physically active and reducing alcohol intake.
One point of view is that, if someone becomes “over-heavy” it is their choice, their (shorter) life, and that it mostly affects poorer people with fewer options. The problem with this viewpoint is that, whether you pay taxes in Britain to support the health service, or you pay healthcare insurance in America, the effect is the same – treating the voluntarily obese puts the cost of health up for everyone, along with their taxes in the UK. And that doesn’t include the cost of bigger ambulances and gear for handling huge bodies. I have grave misgivings about endlessly subsidizing the self-indulgent who don’t or won’t look after themselves or exert a modicum of self-discipline. A daily walk, at the very least, is free. Vegetables won’t kill you. Go on, make an effort!