Health

Fat to Blame for a Half a Million Cancers a Year, WHO Agency Says

This is a Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2007  file photo of an overweight person  eating in London.  A new report by the McKinsey Global Institute released Thursday  Nov. 20, 2014 that the global cost of obesity has risen to $2 trillion annually — nearly as much as smoking or the combined impact of armed violence, war and terrorism. The report released Thursday focused on the economics of obesity, putting it among the top three social programs generated by human beings. It puts its impact at 2.8 percent of global gross domestic product.  (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File)
This is a Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2007 file photo of an overweight person eating in London. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File)

(Fox News) – Some half a million cases of cancer a year are due to people being overweight or obese, and the problem is particularly acute in North America, the World Health Organization’s cancer research agency said on Wednesday.

In a study published in the journal The Lancet Oncology, the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) said high body mass index (BMI) has now become a major cancer risk factor, responsible for some 3.6 percent, or 481,000, of new cancer cases in 2012.

“The number of cancers linked to obesity and overweight is expected to rise globally along with economic development,” said Christopher Wild, IARC’s director.

He said the findings underlined the importance of helping people maintain a healthy weight to reduce their risk of developing a wide range of cancers, and of helping developing countries avoid the problems currently faced by wealthier ones.

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