There is a strong evidence base that being overweight or obese increases the risk of developing 11 types of cancer – bowel, breast (in post-menopausal women), gallbladder, kidney, liver, oesophagus, ovary, pancreas, prostate (advanced), stomach and womb. It is estimated that 17% of all cancers could be prevented if everyone stayed a normal weight. As almost two thirds of children at the highest BMIs become obese adults it is particularly important to consider what can be done to reduce childhood obesity rates.
The prevalence of childhood obesity in Scotland has remained stubbornly high. In 2015, 28% of 2-15 year olds were at risk of being overweight or obese. Overweight and obesity in childhood is associated with poorer health outcomes in later life, such as, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, depression and thirteen cancers[2-4].
The scale of the problem in Scotland requires action to change systems and environments in which people live to enable weight loss to be both made and maintained[5-6], alongside action to support individual knowledge and skills.
A rapid evidence review undertaken by NHS Health Scotland Evidence for environmental interventions to prevent childhood overweight and obesity within schools, found the following actions may be effective in reducing the rise of overweight and obesity within school populations:
The last issue of 2017 packed full of the evidence and examples of good practice underpinning cancer prevention in Scotland. In this issue: Moving More: A workplace challenge, Yorkshire Bike Libraries, ActWELL Study - Full steam ahead, Reflections on 'gender neutral' HPV immunisation, Ongoing Scottish Research and more.