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Abdominal Obesity Associated with Colon Cancer Risk

Waist circumference, waist-to-hip ratio linked to colon cancer risk

FRIDAY, July 7 (HealthDay News) -- Two markers of abdominal obesity -- waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio -- are associated with an increased risk of colon cancer among men and women, according to the results of a prospective cohort study in the July 5 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Tobias Pischon, M.D., of the German Institute of Human Nutrition in Nuthetal, analyzed data in 368,277 subjects from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition. During 6.1 years of follow-up, 984 patients developed colon cancer and 586 patients developed rectal cancer.

Male and female patients in the highest quintiles of waist circumference, waist-to-hip ratio and height had the greatest risk of developing colon cancer. None of the measures were statistically significant in regards to rectal cancer. The estimated absolute risk of developing colon cancer in the next five years was 203 per 100,000 for men in the highest quintile of waist-to-hip ratio compared with 131 per 100,000 in the lowest, and for women was 129 per 100,000 in the highest and 86 per 100,000 in the lowest.

While the new findings require confirmation, "measurement of waist circumference or waist-to-hip ratio should be included in current guidelines to maintain a healthful lifestyle for disease prevention," the study authors conclude.

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