Expanding waistline linked to an increased risk of cancer
Conclusion This study provides more evidence of the link between excess body fat and 10 cancers. Though the percentage increases sound large, it's important to put these results into context. For example, the baseline risk of postmenopausal cancer was 2.2% – it occurred in 555 of the 24,751 women in the study. For women who hadn't used hormone therapy, this would increase to a risk of 2.7% if they had a BMI of 30 compared with 26, or a waist circumference of 95cm compared with 84cm. This accounts for only an extra 5 cases in every 1,000 women. This large study involved older adults from European countries, so the results should be applicable to people in the UK. Its strengths also include the fact researchers analysed data for each individual rather than relying on published results from each study, which could have used different definitions and cut-offs. As ever, though, there are some limitations to be aware of: There were differences between the cohorts, such as length of follow-up and age at entry into the study. Other medical conditions and medication weren't included in the analysis. Diet wasn't taken into account. Though the researchers looked at smoking, physical activity, and alcohol, they weren't able to analyse the results for different amounts of each. The obesity-related cancers were combined in the analysis because of small numbers, so we don't know if there was variation in risk between them. The length of follow-up may not have been...
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