Colorectal Cancer Linked To Wide Waistlines
Colorectal cancer is more prevalent in people who are overweight, particularly around the middle, a Dutch study suggests.
It "provides further evidence that excess body fat may contribute to a higher risk of colorectal cancer," study author Laura A.E. Hughes, of Maastricht University in the Netherlands, told Reuters Health. "It is important to maintain a healthy body weight throughout life, as this may lower your risk of colorectal cancer," she added.
In the study, 120,000 Dutch adults ages 55 to 69 were followed over 16 years. Around two percent developed colorectal cancer, defined as tumors of the colon and/or rectum, and the risk was 25 percent higher for men who were overweight or obese at the beginning of the study. What's more, men with the biggest waist sizes had a 63 percent greater risk of colorectal cancer than the men with the smallest middles.
A different pattern was seen in women. "One of our most intriguing observations," Hughes said, "was that abdominal fat was associated with colorectal cancer in women only when combined with low exercise levels."
Abdominal obsesity, Reuters reported, has been linked to chronic, low-level inflammation in the body, which is thought to be involved in disease processes. In the U.S., over 141,000 people are diagnosed with colorectal cancer each year, with nearly 50,000 dying from the disease. Some studies have also linked the cancer to old age, genetics, smoking and high-fat diets.
The study appeared in the October issue of American Journal of Epidemiology.