LONDON (CBS) A first of its kind study suggests the world needs to lose weight to prevent cancer.
Diabetes and having a high body mass index or BMI cause nearly 6-percent of cancers worldwide, according to researchers in London.
"800,000 cancer cases each year are attributable to overweight, obesity and diabetes," said study author Dr. Jonathan Pearson-Stuttard from the Imperial College London.
The study, published in the Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, looked at data on 175 countries and linked diabetes and obesity to 18 cancers with liver, breast, endometrial and colorectal cancer accounting for the most cases.
Diabetes and obesity affect sugar levels, inflammation and hormones, which can increase cancer risk.
Researchers say the number of cancer cases related to diabetes and high BMI is likely to keep increasing unless people around the world start getting healthy.
"We must take big structural and innovative approaches to prevent obesity and diabetes," said Dr. Pearson-Stuttard. "We have got a long way to do on that specifically tackling poor diet."
With more than two billion people around the world overweight and about 420 million diabetic, researchers say it's time to get healthy now.
The study found low and middle-income countries had the largest increases in cancer risk.