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Watch Out for Breast Cancer by Watching Your Waist

Watch Out for Breast Cancer by Watching Your Waist

Inflation isn’t the only thing that’s risen in the past few decades (what cost $25 in 1965 would ring up as $188.77 today)—waist sizes have as well. In 1965 the average woman’s waist size was 24 to 25 inches, today it’s 34 to 35 inches and growing. At the same time, the incidence of breast cancer in women 25 to 39 has almost doubled, growing by more than 2 percent annually. And while the incidence in older women has recently declined, it’s still much higher than decades ago.

A study brings these two trends together: Looking at the medical history of 93,000 women 50 and older, UK researchers found an increase in skirt size is the single strongest predictor of a woman’s risk for breast cancer. If you’ve expanded one skirt size from 10 to 12 or 16 to 18 in the past decade your breast cancer risk balloons 33 percent. If you jump two sizes, it rises 77 percent! Seems more fat around the waist (and your internal organs) fuels inflammation—a known cancer trigger—and increases your body’s levels of estrogen, which some breast cancer cells gobble up.

So if you’re skirting overweight, your smart move is to lose 1 pound a week by eating nine servings of veggies and fruit daily, eliminating red meat, added sugars and syrups and all trans and saturated fats. Revving up your fitness is a good idea too—you can start off with a walking regimen that gets you to 10,000 steps a day.

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