Obesity now causes more cases of four common cancers in the UK than smoking, according to a charity.

Cancer Research UK says bowel, kidney, ovarian and liver cancers are more likely to have been caused by being overweight than by smoking tobacco.

It says millions are at risk of cancer because of their weight and that obese people outnumber smokers two to one.

But its new billboard campaign highlighting the obesity-cancer risk has been criticised for fat-shaming.

It is not the first time the charity has been accused of fat-shaming.

In February, comedian and campaigner Sofie Hagen took to Twitter to criticise the campaign.

One Twitter user, @KenLynch73, said linking obesity with cigarette-style branding was a new low.

Cancer Research UK says it is not about blaming people for being overweight.

Nor is it suggesting that smoking and obesity are directly comparable in terms of cancer risk. Both increase a person’s risk.

But it says being overweight or obese causes around 22,800 cases of cancer each year, compared to smoking which causes 54,300. For the four highlighted cancers:-

  • Bowel – Of around 42,000 new cases, being overweight or obese causes 4,800, smoking 2,900
  • Kidney – 12,900 in total; being overweight or obese causes 2,900, smoking 1,600
  • Liver – 5,900 in total; being overweight or obese causes 1,300 cases, smoking 1,200
  • Ovarian – 7,500 in total; being overweight or obese causes 490 cases per year, smoking 25                                                                                                           Smoking remains the UK’s leading preventable cause of cancer overall. Obesity ranks second, says CRUK.

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