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Women who have higher waist to hip ratio 'increase cancer risk by 21%'

hip measurements
Chloe Best
Lifestyle Features Editor
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Women who have a higher waist to hip ratio have an increased risk of womb cancer, according to a new study. Research published in the British Medical Journal found that for every 0.1 unit increase in the ratio between waist and hip, the risk of getting the disease increased by a staggering 21%.

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Experts from the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF), which part funded the study, said the results showed a strong correlation between carrying extra weight around the waist and cancer. Nearly 10,000 women are diagnosed with the disease, which is otherwise known as endometrial cancer and uterine cancer, every year in the UK.

hip measurements© Photo: iStock

A higher hip to waist ratio has been linked to an increased risk of womb cancer

Dr Panagiota Mitrou, director of research funding at the WCRF, said: "We know that extra weight around the waist increases the risk of a range of health conditions, such as diabetes, but this important study is helping us shine a light on how body fat around the waist could affect cancer risk. It is incredibly important that people are aware of the dangers of excess body fat, particularly around their waist. After not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight is the best thing people can do to help prevent cancer."

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To work out your own hip to waist ratio, simply divide your waist circumference by your hip measurement. A woman with a ratio of 0.6 which then increased to 0.7 would have a 21% greater risk of developing womb cancer, according to the study. For every extra increase the risk would rise further. The WCRF advised that a ratio above 0.85 for women or 0.90 for men is a sign of obesity. The WCRF estimates that around 25,000 cancer cases could be prevented in the UK each year if people were a healthy weight.

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