Obesity will cause a cancer epidemic for future generations

The President of the European Society for Paediatric Oncology has warned that the current generation of children are at greater risk than ever of developing cancer later in life, due to the raging obesity epidemic that we are now facing.

Professor Kathy Pritchard-Jones has warned governments that they need to take action now to stand a chance of avoiding a cancer epidemic in years to come. It is estimated that globally 300 million adults are now clinically obese, i.e. with a BMI over 30.


Children with poor lifestyles are not at any increased risk of cancer while young, however they are constantly increasing the risk of developing cancer later in life. We could see whole generations of adults developing cancer, and having their lives cut short in the process. Cancer is one of the most brutal diseases, often attacking people in the prime of their lives, while still raising their families.

Calculations suggest that poor diets and lack of exercise, leading to people being overweight or obese, is responsible for approximately a third of cancers in western countries, and approximately a fifth in developing countries. Just losing weight, eating a healthy diet and getting some regular exercise is enough to prevent many cases of cancer. Basically, lethargy and greed is killing us.

Prof Pritchard-Jones, a paediatric oncologist at the Royal Marsden Hospital in Sutton, Surrey, called on families, health professionals, teachers and policy makers to do more to get children to lead healthy, energy-balanced lifestyles.

Call to action: Parents, please make a change today. Buy some healthy food – fruits and vegetables – and arrange an event to get your children active again. Go for a walk, play in the park. take up soccer or basketball, buy a trampoline. Just get moving and get healthy, for your sakes and your childrens’.

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