There is overwhelming evidence that obesity is linked to eleven types of cancer, an international team of scientists has said.
The study found associations mainly with cancers of digestive organs and hormone-related malignancies in women.
Researchers say obesity could be related to other types of cancer but the evidence is far from conclusive.
A team led by Imperial College London reviewed 204 studies that had looked into an increase in body mass index (BMI), weight gain and waist circumference, and 36 cancers and their sub-types.
Out of these, 95 studies were selected as being worthy of inclusion.
They found that being 5 kg heavier than a healthy body weight increased the risk of rectal cancer in men by 9% and by 56% for cancers of the liver and gallbladder.
The risk of postmenopausal breast cancer among women who never used hormone replacement therapy (HRT) increased by 11% for each 5 kg of weight gain.
Obesity was also linked to oesophageal, womb and kidney cancers.
The study was published in the British Medical Journal.
Graham Colditz and Yikyung Park from Washington School of medicine, St Louis, wrote an editorial on the findings of the study.
“Given the critical role of healthcare providers in obesity screening and prevention, clinicians, particularly those in primary care, can be a powerful force to lower the burden of obesity related cancers, as well as the many other chronic diseases linked to obesity such as diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
“The data are clear. The time for action is now,” he said.
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