Healthy living * Weight loss

Waist size linked to cancer risk

Waist size linked to cancer risk Abdominal fat counts more than BMI, experts say

People who carry too much fat around the waist are at a higher risk of bowel cancer, experts say.

A report by scientists from Leeds University and Imperial College found that every extra inch of waist fat increased the risk of bowel cancer by 3 per cent.

After reviewing seven past studies, the scientists concluded that a large waist size can be a predictor of bowel cancer regardless of someone's body mass index.

A healthy waist measurement is less than 80cm for women and 94cm for white and black men, and less than 90cm for Asian men.

Professor Martin Wiseman, medical and scientific adviser for the World Cancer Research Fund, which funded the study, said: "This latest study adds to the already strong evidence that carrying excess body fat increases your risk of cancer.

"Scientists now say that, after not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight is the most important thing you can do for cancer prevention.

"We estimate that more than 2,700 cases of bowel cancer a year in the UK could be prevented through people maintaining a healthy weight.

"But as well as confirming the link between body fat and bowel cancer, this study has strengthened the evidence that where we carry the fat is also important.

"This means that people who do have a large waist should consider losing weight even if they are in the normal BMI range."

This article was published on Tue 14 September 2010

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