A new survey by Cancer Research UK says that obese people are unaware that they face the higher risk of cancer and think they must slim down only to look good.
The survey conducted in over 4,000 adults found that 40% thought looking good was the main reason for losing weight, while 32% were aware that it lessened cancer risk.
"This research provides a real insight into the priorities many of us have when it comes to looking after our bodies and the low awareness of the link between obesity and cancer," said Dr Lesley Walker, director of cancer information at Cancer Research UK. "We know for those who don't smoke, maintaining a healthy body weight is one of the most important things we can do to reduce our risk of cancer."
Cancers of bowel, stomach, oesophageal and kidney, womb and breast are being seen in a high number of obese people and experts say this is one of the most preventable causes of cancer.
In the survey, younger people were more image conscious, while older people were aware that losing weight prevented cancer. In the over-65 age group, 67 percent were aware of the cancer risks.
"It is alarming is that so many people are unaware that reducing cancer risk is a benefit of maintaining a healthy body weight. We need to continue raising awareness of the dangers of obesity, and offer information to help people lose those extra pounds," said Professor Jane Wardle, director of Cancer Research UK's health behaviour unit.