An extra inch on waistline ups bowel cancer risk

Updated: Sep 13, 2010, 00:00 AM IST

London: Beware! Even an extra inch on your waist ups the likelihood of bowel cancer -- even if you are trim otherwise.

A large-scale review of studies into Britain`s second biggest cancer killer revealed the dangers of a pot belly.

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

"In fact, scientists now say that, after not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight is the most important thing you can do for cancer prevention," Wiseman was quoted as saying by the Daily Mail.

"But this study has also strengthened the evidence that where we carry the fat is important," he added.

A healthy waist measurement is defined as less than 31.5 inches (80cm) for women, less than 37 inches (94cm) for white and black men and less than 35 inches (89cm) for Asian men.

The differences are down to variations in the average height of ethnic groups, and therefore variations in body mass index measurements.

For every extra inch on the waist above these levels, the risk of bowel cancer goes up three percent, the Imperial College London review of seven pieces of research found.

Teresa Norat, who led the review, told a cancer conference: "This indicates that people should pay attention to abdominal fatness even if they are in the normal range of weight, and it confirms that being overweight increases the risk of this type of cancer.

The World Cancer Research Fund has repeatedly warned that eating processed meats - including bacon, ham, pastrami, salami and hot dogs - significantly raises the chances of bowel cancer.

IANS