Obesity can increase risk of cancer for women

"Fat women who refuse to diet 'are more likely to get cancer'," states the Mail Online, using a headline that is both inaccurate and offensive. The article reported on a study that found women with a greater extent and duration of obesity were at a greater risk of certain cancers.

The study was carried out by researchers from nine different universities in the US and one in Israel. It followed 70,000 women over 12 years and used multiple measurements including Body Mass Index (BMI) and weight estimates to calculate how many years they had been overweight.

They found that each decade of being overweight was linked to a 7% increased risk of certain cancers. Specifically womb cancer, kidney cancer, colon cancer and postmenopausal breast cancer. No link was seen between obesity and rectal, liver, gallbladder, pancreatic, ovarian or thyroid cancer.

Women who took part in the study received no advice about dieting; let alone actively refused to diet. That’s why The Mail Online's headline saying "Fat women who refuse to diet 'are more likely to get cancer'," is not only unhelpful and offensive, it is inaccurate and implies that overweight women are to blame for cancer by "refusing" to diet.

Some people struggle with their weight more than others, and it can be hard to shift weight once you've put it on. The key conclusion from this study is that "reducing overweight duration in adulthood could reduce cancer risk and that obesity prevention is important from the outset" .

The best way to keep to a healthy weight throughout life is to eat a healthy, balanced diet and take plenty of exercise. If you're worried about your weight and want help in reaching a healthy weight, you can talk to your GP for advice or try the NHS weight loss plan.

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