Ladies, you may want to lose that middle-age spread as according to a recent study, abdominal fat is a key cancer driver for postmenopausal women.Body fat distribution in the trunk is more important than body weight when it comes to cancer risk in postmenopausal women, according to the study presented at the ESMO 2017 Congress in Madrid.
The findings put a new spin on weight management priorities for women in this age-group, who are prone to abdominal weight gain, said study investigator Line Mærsk Staunstrup.
"When assessing cancer risk, body mass index (BMI) and fat percentage may not be adequate measures as they fail to assess the distribution of fat mass," she explained. "Avoiding central obesity may confer the best protection."
The findings come from the Prospective Epidemiologic Risk Factor study, an observational, prospective cohort study designed to get a better understanding of age-related diseases in Danish postmenopausal women.
It included 5,855 women (mean age 71 years) who underwent baseline dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scans to assess body fat and body fat composition and have been followed for 12 years.
"The average elderly women can very much use this information, as it is known that the menopause transition initiates a shift in body fat towards the central trunk area. Therefore elderly women should be especially aware of their lifestyle when they approach the pre-menopause age," said Mærsk Staunstrup.
"Clinicians can additionally use the information for a preventive conversation with women who are in higher risk of cancer. While clinicians have access to whole body DXA scanners at most hospitals, portable DXA scanners have become available on the commercial market and this may allow regional bone and fat scanning, however it may not be the most reliable for measuring central obesity," she concluded.