World Cancer Day Highlights Link Between Overweight and Cancer

    New data demonstrates need for greater cancer awareness and more cancer

    GENEVA, Feb. 4 /CNW/ -- Today the International Union Against Cancer
(UICC) is launching "I love my healthy active childhood," a campaign to raise
awareness about the link between excess body weight and cancer.

    "Three to four million new cases of cancer could be prevented every year
by avoiding overweight and obesity," says Isabel Mortara, executive director
of the UICC. "Good habits start early in life, so our focus is on encouraging
children to eat a healthy diet and be physically active. An estimated 22
million children under 5 are overweight, and the problem is growing."

    The need for the UICC campaign is underlined by Cancer-related beliefs
and behaviours (, a survey report released
today, with new data showing how people fail to realize that the choices
increase their risk of cancer.

    For example, around 40% of people in the Americas, Australia/New Zealand
and western Asia were unaware that being overweight increased their risk of
cancer, with less awareness in other regions.

    The survey is the first to provide internationally comparable data on
cancer-related beliefs and behaviour. The UICC worked with Gallup
International affiliates in 2008 to interview over 40,000 respondents in 39
countries. The new report provides a breakdown of data for eight UN regions.

    "Overweight and obesity are part of the causal chain for many cancers,"
says Professor David Hill, the president of the UICC. "This is well
established in science but not adequately understood in the community. In
fact, current lack of public understanding of the link between body weight and
cancer probably parallels our attitudes to smoking and cancer in the late

    World Cancer Day marks the start of a yearlong campaign to encourage
adults to promote healthy eating and physical activity among children.

    "The accumulated evidence linking overweight and obesity with cancer is
largely based on adult studies," says Hill. "But healthy lifelong habits are
best established in early childhood."

    The campaign is backed by A healthy active childhood
(, an expert report published today, and
is one way the UICC is working with members and partners to implement the
World Cancer Declaration adopted in 2008.


    Contact: Aline Ingwersen, +41-22-809-1878, +41-79-658-50-70 (mobile),,, Debra Anna Daugherty, + 202 558 3583,
    + 011 525 585 252806,


For further information:

For further information: Aline Ingwersen, +41-22-809-1878,
+41-79-658-50-70 (mobile), or, Debra Anna Daugherty,
+1-202-558-3583, +011-525-585-252806, or Web Site:

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