PHILADELPHIA (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 causes nearly 6 percent of cancers worldwide, according researchers in London.

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“Eight-hundred thousand cancer cases each year are attributable to overweight, obesity and diabetes,” the study’s author Dr. Jonathan Pearson-Stuttard of the Imperial College in London said.

The study 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.

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“We must take big big structural and innovative approaches to prevent obesity and diabetes. We have got a long way to go on that specifically tackling poor diet,” Pearson-Stuttard said.

And with more than 2 billion people around the world overweight and about 420 million diabetic, researchers say it’s time to get healthy now.

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