SIX out of 10 adults in Dorset are obese or overweight, according to Cancer Research UK.

The charity said overweight people now outnumber smokers two to one in the south west.

And it warned that obesity trumps smoking as the leading cause of bowel, kidney, ovarian and liver cancer.

The news comes as Cancer Research UK launches a new campaign across the region, designed to increase awareness of the link between obesity and cancer.

Posters with images inspired by old-fashioned cigarette packs will be on display at prominent sites including train stations, bus stops and billboards in July.

The campaign compares smoking and obesity to show how policy change can help people form healthier habits, not to compare tobacco with food.

Michelle Mitchell, Cancer Research UK’s chief executive, said: “As smoking rates fall and obesity rates rise, we can clearly see the impact on a national health crisis when the Government puts policies in place – and when it puts its head in the sand.

“Our children could be a smoke-free generation, but we’ve hit a devastating record high for childhood obesity and now we need urgent Government intervention to end the epidemic.

“They still have a chance to save lives. Scientists have so far identified that obesity causes 13 types of cancer but the mechanisms aren’t fully understood.

“So further research is needed to find out more about the ways extra body fat can lead to cancer.”

The charity wants the Government to act on its ambition to halve childhood obesity rates by 2030 and introduce a 9pm watershed for junk food adverts on TV and online, alongside other measures such as restricting promotional offers on unhealthy food and drinks.

Professor Linda Bauld, Cancer Research UK’s prevention expert, said: “The world we live in doesn’t make it easy to be healthy and we need Government action to fix that, but people can also make changes themselves; small things like swapping junk food for healthier options and keeping active can all add up to help reduce cancer risk.”