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Obesity and cancer risk: Guardian health editor and author Sarah Boseley on the serious impacts of being overweight

Sarah Boseley

Sarah Boseley is the Guardian’s award-winning health editor and author  of ‘The Shape We’re In: How junk food and diets are shortening our lives’. Here she writes about the dangers of obesity, and calls for more robust action to warn people of the impact of being overweight:

‘The tombstone adverts on mainstream national television of the mid-80s warning us of that Aids was a death sentence were unforgettable. The more recent anti-smoking adverts showing cigarettes metamorphosing into tumours were stomach-turning. Governments in the UK have successfully mounted powerful public health campaigns – … Continue Reading

Are your food portions in proportion?

Increases in portion sizes graphic

Portion sizes of foods in the UK have spiralled “out of control” according to a new report.
The Portion Distortion report compared the portion sizes of 245 shop-bought foods with portion sizes of the same foods 20 years ago, and found that many had increased significantly.

Gains in weight graphic

Managing our weight is a balancing act – eating more than we need to can contribute to weight gain, an important risk factor for … Continue Reading

Five tips for being a healthy weight

Five tips for a healthy weight

It’s National Obesity Awareness Week and this year the campaign is raising the alarm over the cost to the health service.

According to the 2011 Health Survey for England, 25 per cent of adults in the UK were obese in 2011 - an increase from 15 per cent in 1993. The campaign, by the National Obesity Forum, estimates that more than half of the UK population could be obese by 2050, costing the NHS £10 billion a year.

Some of the world’s most serious diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease and … Continue Reading

Women and cancer – don’t forget about womb cancer

Healthy weight and womb cancer

Having a healthy weight and being physically active reduces risk of womb cancer

Say the words ‘female cancer’ and most of us (myself included) would think of breast cancer.

It’s pretty high profile in the UK, from the Angelina Jolie story earlier this year, to the huge range of breast cancer awareness and fundraising events that flash up on Facebook, in GP surgeries and in local newspaper articles.

And there’s good reason for that, given that it’s the most common female cancer in the UK.

But … Continue Reading

Hospitals need to set example on vending machines

It is an interesting product of devolution that the governments of Scotland and Wales are now leading the way in some areas of public policy and, in the health service, the guidance on hospital vending machines is one such example.

Today World Cancer Research Fund, backed by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, is calling for England to catch up with its neighbours to the west and north by introducing health guidelines for the kind of food and drink provided in the vending machines that line hospital corridors. It is time for the NHS in England to establish itself as … Continue Reading

Traffic light labelling gets go ahead

Voluntary food labelling system introduced

The launch of a new front-of-pack labelling system for food and drink is a welcome step towards helping shoppers make informed choices about what they buy and, ultimately, in reducing the UK’s obesity burden.

By introducing a consistent scheme and making it easier for everyone to pick healthy foods, a lot of confusion surrounding different manufacturers’ food labelling arrangements has been removed.

Crucially, the new system – which will be phased in from today – includes ‘traffic light’ labels that will see fat, saturated fat, salt and … Continue Reading

Heavy going up Ben Nevis

Iona in fat suit training!

Iona in fat suit training!

Many of us know that there is a link between cancer and body fat. There is strong evidence to show that a person’s level of body fatness is directly related to their risk of getting bowel, breast, womb, pancreatic, kidney and oesophageal cancer.

Iona Taylor is a dietician and supporter of ours from Chester. She decided to draw attention to the link between cancer and weight by wearing a weighted body suit that simulates what it would be like for … Continue Reading

Two-day diets: fad or future?

Keeping lean is vital for reducing cancer risk

There is promising evidence that two-day diets can be effective for some

There has been a flurry of media interest surrounding two-day diets recently, with the BBC’s Horizon featuring the 5:2 intermittent diet and the publication and serialisation of The 2-Day Diet (co-authored by WCRF grant panel member Dr Michelle Harvie).

Maintaining a healthy weight is an important way of reducing our risk of cancer and we tend to warn people away from ‘fad diets’. So, are these two-day diet plans just … Continue Reading

Tax sugary drinks for children’s future

Duty on sugary soft drinks could pay for kids' health schemes

Today’s call by Sustain for a £1billion Children’s Future Fund to improve children’s health and environment is supported by WCRF.

Sustain, the food and farming charity, has produced a detailed proposal showing how a 20p a litre tax on soft drinks could create a ring-fenced fund controlled by an independent body.

There are many arguments in favour of this development.

Perhaps the most obvious is health. Britain is the fat man of Europe, with one in four … Continue Reading

New Year boost for WCRF message

Newspaper coverage: helping raise cancer awareness

Media coverage helps cancer awareness

It’s been a busy start to 2013 for WCRF with national media coverage surrounding two important cancer prevention topics, alcohol and sedentary behaviour.

Last week saw blanket coverage of our press release on the calorie content of alcoholic drinks. We highlighted the fact that, for an average drinker, ten per cent of daily calorie intake comes from booze. This means anyone who wanted to lose a few pounds after the Christmas splurge should … Continue Reading

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