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Your thick waist can give you cancer

Women with a 34 inch waist have double the risk of womb cancer compared to ones with a waist just three inches smaller, says an international study.

india Updated:
Asian News International
Asian News International

Women with a 34 inch waist have double the risk of womb cancer compared to ones with a waist just three inches smaller, says an international study.

The current obesity epidemic means women now have a much higher risk of womb cancer than their counterparts 50 years ago.

A wartime diet and more exercise protected women in the 1950s from this form of cancer, and gave them a profile that was, on average, six inches trimmer than today.

Researchers say that losing three inches or more off the waistline would halve the chances of developing the disease, reports the Daily Mail.

The research also found women who piled on the pounds during adulthood were at much higher risk of womb cancer than those who became wider at a younger age.

Findings from a study of almost a quarter of a million women show expanding waistlines are to blame for a surge in cases over the last decade.

More than 5,500 women are diagnosed each year with cancer of the womb lining, or endometrial cancer, which is 19 per cent up compared with the early 1990s.

A study part-funded by the Cancer Research UK charity shows women with a 34in waist have nearly double the risk compared with those whose waists are 31in or less.

Women who are obese - with a body mass index of 30 or more - and women who have put on more than 44lb since the age of 20 have almost double the risk.

Scientists working for the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) project analysed data from 223,000 women across 10 European countries.

Dr Lesley Walker, director of cancer information for Cancer Research UK, said 'According to the National Sizing Survey conducted in 2004 the average British woman now has a 34in waist, which is over 6in bigger than the average size of a woman in the 1950s, when it was 27.5in.

"Today's women are larger than they were when they existed on a wartime diet and were generally more active and this is having serious consequences for their health.

"The results of this study confirm that women carrying excess weight are much more likely to develop endometrial cancer than those women who are a normal weight."

A big waist is deemed even more hazardous for health than just being overweight because fat cells carried around the stomach pump out chemicals that can damage the insulin system, raise blood pressure and increase cholesterol levels.

Professor John Toy, medical director of Cancer Research UK, said: "While the general link between obesity and cancer is known, this study adds specific evidence that overweight women face a significantly increased risk of endometrial cancer.

"Cancer Research UK's Reduce the Risk campaign aims to raise awareness of how we can all help to prevent cancer by improving our lifestyles.

"Keeping a healthy weight by eating a low-fat, high-fibre diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables and taking regular exercise is one way to combat cancer risk."

First Published: Feb 20, 2007 16:11 IST