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16 May 2017, 08:35
Almost 5,000 bowel cancer cases have been caused by obesity over the last decade in Scotland, according to research.
Cancer Research UK described the findings as a "huge worry'' and called for action to promote healthier lifestyles along with restrictions on offers for unhealthy foods.
There are around 3,800 cases of bowel cancer diagnosed in Scotland each year and around 1,600 people die from the disease annually.
Obesity is linked to 13 types of cancer and Cancer Research UK said resistance to insulin, a hormone important in the breakdown of food, is one likely explanation.
Scientists have found high levels of insulin in the body causes cells to divide more rapidly, raising the likelihood of the cells changing and leading to cancer.
Professor Linda Bauld, Cancer Research UK's cancer prevention expert based at the University of Stirling, said: "It is a huge worry to see so many bowel cancer cases being caused by excess weight, and to see that proportion rising as more of the population becomes overweight or obese.
"Being overweight or obese is linked to 13 types of cancer, including bowel cancer which is the third most common form of the disease in Scotland.
"It is also now more common for adults in Scotland to be overweight or obese than a healthy weight.
"In the face of this, the Scottish Government has a responsibility to take action and introduce an obesity strategy which will help everyone to make healthy choices.
"Shoppers are bombarded with multi-buy offers every time they set foot in a supermarket. Unfortunately, instead of encouraging us to fill our trolleys with food that's good for us, these 'deals' persuade us to stock up on foods that pile on the pounds.
"Cancer Research UK believes restricting these multi-buy offers on unhealthy foods and drinks would go a long way to improving the health of the nation.
"The Scottish Government can and must do more and its forthcoming strategy is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to introduce measures that will have a profound impact on our lives.''