29/12/2010 04:50 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Inches Off Your Waist Reduces Cancer Risk

Losing inches off your waist reduces your risk of cancer Slimmer waists are linked with a reduced risk of cancer. Photo: Flickr, phoosh

Can't get into your jeans after one mince pie too many over Christmas? You wouldn't be the only one, since experts reckon we gain an average of 5lb over the festive season. But keep an eye on your waist measurement, as if it's on the large size it could increase your risk of cancer.

According to the World Cancer Research Fund, a surprising 44 of men having a waist measurement of more than 94cm (37in). For Asian men, the healthy maximum is 90cm (35in).

So while the common perception is that men are more likely to put on weight on their stomachs, the scientists' findings suggest that it's actually women who are most at risk.

A large body of studies suggest a large waistline increases your risk of several cancers (including breast, bowel, pancreas and womb cancer), so if all that eating and drinking over Christmas means yours has exceeded 80cm then it's time to shift some of that weight.

First, make sure your measure your waist correctly and accurately. The point you should be measuring is half way between the bottom of your lowest rib and the top of your hip bone. Breathe out, and make sure the tape isn't twisted and isn't pinching your skin.

Some experts suggest eating whole grains may keep your waist slim, while others recommend stomach-flattening exercises. What are your waist whittling tips?

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