Cancer Research says obese people 'in denial'Obese people unaware of health risks

09 January 2006

More than a quarter of overweight or obese people don't want to lose weight and many are 'in denial' about their size, a survey has found.

The Cancer Research UK poll also found that nearly three-quarters didn't realise that carrying excess weight put them at greater risk of cancer.

More than half of the 4,000 surveyed were overweight or obese but a quarter of those said they didn't want to lose weight.

Many of the overweight or obese people didn't acknowledge their true size when asked to pick out their weight category, and nearly half of them said they didn't believe that eating healthily could help cut their cancer risk. About two thirds were unaware that regular exercise could reduce the threat of serious disease.

In the UK, 59 per cent of women and 66 per cent of men are overweight or obese. This is defined as more than two or three stone over a healthy weight. A normal weight for a woman of 5ft 5ins (165cms) is around 10st (65kg), and for a man of 5ft 9ins (176cms) it's around 11st (70kg).

Preventable cause of cancer

Obesity is linked with an increased risk of bowel, kidney, oesophageal and stomach cancers, as well as cancer of the womb, and breast cancer in post-menopausal women.

Dr Lesley Walker, director of cancer information at Cancer Research UK, said: 'It's worrying to think that people are in denial about their weight. People who are carrying extra weight face significant health risks including cancer.

'Obesity is one of the biggest known preventable causes of cancer for those who don't smoke. These results show far too many of those at greatest risk are choosing to ignore their weight. They are unaware of their increased risk of cancer and unaware of many of the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.'

Cancer Research UK has joined forces with a charity called Weight Concern to develop ten tips to help people lose weight and cut their cancer risk. The tips, are published in full on Cancer Research UK's Reduce the Risk website .