More than one-quarter of obese and overweight people do not want to lose weight and many more are unaware of the benefits a healthy lifestyle brings, according to a survey by charity Cancer Research UK.
More than half of the 4,000 people surveyed were overweight or obese, but 87% of those who were obese and 32% of those who were overweight failed to identify their correct weight category.
And 71% of those at risk because of their weight did not know that there is a connection between obesity and cancer, it added.
Dr Lesley Walker, director of cancer information, said: “It’s worrying to think that people are in denial about their weight. People who are carrying extra weight face significant health risks, including cancer.”
Asthma charity Asthma UK, meanwhile, has warned that a link between asthma and obesity may be down to shared genetic factors.
Research in the US has suggested that there is a strong correlation between asthma and a high body mass index.
The latest study, published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, has suggested that a common set of genes may predispose people both to have asthma and to be obese.