Obesity, inactivity raise uterine cancer risk

November 10, 2004 in Cancer Prevention, Nutrition Topics in the News, Women's Health

Obesity, inactivity raise uterine cancer risk

Obesity and low physical activity are strong risk factors for endometrial cancer, a disease involving the lining of the uterus, according to a Dutch study.

Obesity is a well-known risk factor for endometrial cancer. In contrast, the effect that physical activity, height, and adult weight gain may have on the risk of the cancer is unclear.

To investigate, researchers from Maastricht University in the Netherlands analyzed data from 62,573 women who participated in The Netherlands Cohort Study on Diet and Cancer. During follow-up from 1986 to 1995, a total of 226 women developed endometrial cancer.

The risk of endometrial cancer rose as height increased, but the trend fell short of statistical significance, meaning that it may have just occurred by chance.

Consistent with other reports, obesity was tied to a heightened risk of endometrial cancer. Obese women were 4.5-times more likely to develop this cancer than their normal-weight peers. Moreover, the more weight a woman gained after age 20, the greater her risk of endometrial cancer.

Low physical activity adversely affected cancer risk. Compared with women who spent at least 90 minutes per day doing non-work-related physical activity, women who spent less than 30 minutes per day were 46 percent more likely to develop endometrial cancer.

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