Britons are more likely to be obese than a healthy weight by the end of the decade, startling analysis reveals.
Experts have warned that if current trends continue, there will be an extra six million obese people by 2040 with a ‘tipping point’ reached in just a few years.
According to projections, by 2030 the number of obese individuals will have surpassed those of a healthy weight – with experts warning the figures should act as a ‘wake-up call’ for the Government.
The report, from Cancer Research UK, also estimated that about seven in 10 Britons will be classed as overweight or obese by 2040.
This is the equivalent of 42m, with half expected to be obese. Currently more than six in 10 are overweight or obese.
People are considered a healthy weight if their body mass index is between 18.5 and 24.9, while overweight is a BMI of 25 to 29.9 and obese is classed as a BMI of 30 and above.
Being overweight or obese increases the risk of about 13 different types of cancer, the charity warned. Every year about 22,800 cases of cancer in the UK are linked to being overweight or obese.
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Cancer Research UK chief executive Michelle Mitchell said: "These projections should serve as a wake-up call to the Government about the state of our nation’s health.
"Ministers must not keep kicking the can down the road when it comes to tackling the obesity crisis – delaying measures that will lead to healthier food options.
"I urge them to revisit this decision and take bold action on obesity, the second biggest preventable risk factor for cancer in the UK."
Experts also warned that if trends continue, obesity will "eclipse smoking as the biggest cause of cancer".
The report also suggests those experiencing higher levels of deprivation could suffer the most.
In England in 2019, 35% of people living in the most deprived areas were obese, and this is estimated to increase to almost half (46%) by 2040. In comparison, 22% of people living in the least deprived areas were obese in 2019 and this is estimated to increase to 25%.
“The report shows a stark and growing difference between obesity rates in those that are least well off and most well off," Mitchell added.