Public awareness and healthcare professional advice for obesity as a risk factor for cancer in the UK: a cross-sectional survey

Lucie Hooper (Lead / Corresponding author), Annie S. Anderson, Jack Birch, Alice S. Forster, Gillian Rosenberg, Linda Bauld, Jyotsna Vohra

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    8 Citations (Scopus)
    193 Downloads (Pure)

    Abstract

    Background: Overweight and obesity is the second biggest preventable cause of cancer after smoking, causing approximately 3.4 million deaths worldwide. This study provides current United Kingdom data on awareness of the link between obesity and cancer by socio-demographic factors, including BMI, and explores to what degree healthcare professionals provide weight management advice to patients.
    Methods: Cross-sectional survey of 3293 adults completed an online survey in February/March 2016, weighted to be representative of the UK population aged 18+.
    Results: Public awareness of the link between obesity and cancer is low (25.4% unprompted and 57.5% prompted). Higher levels of awareness existed for least deprived groups (p<0.001), compared to more deprived groups. Most respondents had seen a healthcare practitioner in the past 12 months (91.6%) and 17.4% had received advice about their weight, although 48.4% of the sample were overweight/obese.
    Conclusion: Cancer is not at the forefront of people’s minds when considering health conditions associated with overweight or obesity. Socio-economic disparities exist in health knowledge across the UK population, with adults from more affluent groups being most aware. Healthcare professionals are uniquely positioned to provide advice about weight, but opportunities for intervention are currently under-utilised in healthcare settings.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-9
    Number of pages9
    JournalJournal of Public Health
    Volume40
    Issue number4
    Early online date16 Nov 2017
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018

    Keywords

    • Obesity
    • Cancer
    • Socioeconomic factors

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