New research conducted by Oxford University has shown a serious link between having a beer belly and an increased risk of cancer.
As reported by the Daily Mail, the study suggested that for every extra four inches on a man’s waistline his chances of developing the most dangerous form of prostate cancer increases by 13 per cent.
The link was announced during the European Obesity Summit in Gothenburg, although the causal factors as to why a larger waistline increases the risk requires further investigation – but the ‘why’ is not as important at this stage.
With prostate cancer the most common cancer in British men, the connection has provided yet another reason for men to to adopt healthier lifestyles, and reconsider the ‘dadbod’ image.
43,000 cases of prostate cancer are reported each year in Britain, with it reported almost 11,000 men will die as a result.
As part of the study, Oxford researchers studied data from roughly 150,000 participants, collected across eight European countries including the UK.
Over the course of the 14-year study 7,022 of the men involved developed the disease, with 934 -roughly one seventh- of those men dying as a consequence.
Dr Aurora Perez-Cornago, whose investigation was funded by Cancer Research UK, said:
The findings from this large study show that the association between body size and prostate cancer is complex and varies by disease aggressiveness; men who have greater adiposity have an elevated risk of high grade prostate cancer and prostate cancer death.
Our results are in line with the health advice for other diseases. Men should try to maintain a healthy weight
Prostate cancer commonly affects men in one of two ways.
It can be very slow forming and go entirely unnoticed for a number of years, with many sufferers actually dying of other causes as the disease develops.
In other men, growth of the cancer can be swift and requires urgent intervention – this is the more dangerous form of the illness.
The study showed that men who are already obese are at a greater risk of developing the faster-growing form than men who are thinner.
A man whose waist measures 37.5 inches (95cm) is 13 per cent more likely to suffer with aggressive prostate cancer than than a male whose waist measures in at 33.6 inches (85cm). While a 41.5-inch waist saw the risk shoot up by a staggering 26 per cent.
Not only was the risk of developing the disease increased, but the likelihood of dying also rose dramatically by 18 per cent.
Simon Grieveson, of charity Prostate Cancer UK said:
Maintaining a healthy weight and staying active can protect against many diseases, including cancer.
This research adds to a growing body of evidence that shows that weight and waist size could be another crucial risk factor for men to be aware of when it comes to protecting themselves against prostate cancer.
Prostate cancer is often symptomless in the early stages when it is most treatable which is why awareness of risk is so crucial.
We already know that men over 50, black men and men with a family history of prostate cancer are more likely to develop the disease.
These findings may give doctors another warning sign to look out for.
Importantly, unlike the other known risk factors, being overweight is a risk factor that men can proactively do something to change.
It is probably pretty obvious, but diet and exercise are key to decreasing your risk of developing the potentially deadly disease.
Prostate Cancer UK report that there are three types of food which you should limit your intake of. These include dairy, red meat, and saturated fat.
The charity reports:
Some studies suggest that eating more than 2000mg of calcium per day (the amount in about 1.6 litres of milk) may increase the risk of advanced prostate cancer several years.
With regards to meat it is believed, although not confirmed, that cooking at high temperatures and burning potentially creates chemicals which damage normal cells, causing cancer.
Prostate Cancer UK advises substituting red meats for skinless white meat, or fish.
Clearly eating large quantities of fat will put your waistline at risk of steady expansion. Saturated fats in particular are believed to increase the risk of prostate cancer returning post-surgery.
It is thought that swapping animal fats for vegetable oils increases the life expectancy of men diagnosed with prostate cancer.
The charity does state on their website that total avoidance is not necessary as research continues, but developing a balanced diet and not over-indulging is definitely advised.
No secrets here, do as much as you can when you can.
If you don’t have much time in the day for a lengthy workout then high intensity interval training could be the best way for you to blast fat.
HIIT workouts involve alternating between moderate intensity and high intensity during exercise. What’s more, it can be applied easily to most cardio-based exercises.
As reported by Bodybuilding.com:
In research, HIIT has been shown to burn adipose tissue more effectively than low-intensity exercise – up to 50% more efficiently.
So don’t delay, make some positive changes to your lifestyle and you may well be adding years to your life by offsetting the risk of cancer.
An NCTJ Journalist with an MA in Sports Journalism, Kieron is an experienced social media journalist who has worked in the industry since 2015. His experience includes work with ITN, the MEN, WISH/WIRE/TOWER FM, and 8:50 Sports Digest… not forgetting his time at ASDA.