The research by the scientists at Imperial College London and the University of Leeds found the risk of bowel cancer increased by 3% with every extra inch on the waist even if the rest of the body is slim.
Professor Martin Wiseman, medical and scientific adviser for the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF), which funded the review, said: ‘This latest study adds to the already strong evidence that carrying excess body fat increases your risk of cancer.
Dr Teresa Norat, who led the review, told a cancer conference: ‘This indicates that people should pay attention to abdominal fatness even if they are in the normal range of weight, and it confirms that being overweight increases the risk of this type of cancer. More research is needed to understand how abdominal fatness can be prevented in both normal and overweight individuals.’
More than 38,500 cases of bowel cancer are diagnosed every year in the UK alone.