Excess body weight or obesity is responsible for 3.9 per cent of cancer globally, a new study has found.
The study, published in the journal Cancer, highlighted a relationship between obesity and the risk of 13 types of cancers, including postmenopausal breast cancer and liver cancer, and a probable relationship with three others, including prostate cancer.
"In particular, not many people are aware of the link of overweight/obesity to cancer risk," said Hyuna Sung, a participant researcher of the study.
The researchers noted that by 2030, 21.7 million new cancer cases and 13 million cancer deaths are expected to occur around the world.
The study looked at cancer and excess body weight on the basis of gender. The total number of cases for women was nearly double that of men, with breast cancer being one of the largest contributors. For men, liver cancer was one of the highest contributors.
Researchers, during the study, used publicly available or already published parameters and estimates to show regional and global trends of obesity and overweight for the past four decades. During that period, the prevalence of excess body weight rose from 21 per cent in men and 24 per cent in women to approximately 40 per cent in both sexes in all regions of the world.
"The simultaneous rise in excess body weight in almost all countries is thought to be driven largely by changes in the global food system, which promotes energy-dense, nutrient-poor foods, alongside reduced opportunities for physical activity," Sung said.