Womb cancer caused by weight gain and lack of exercise

Location and growth of endometrial cancer

Location and growth of endometrial cancer

A new study has indicated that womb cancer (endometrial cancer) is linked with poor diet and inactivity. And as little as 30 minutes of daily exercise combined with a healthier diet may be enough to reduce risk. Womb cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer for women.

As levels of obesity continue to rise more women are putting themselves at risk of developing cancer. In the UK almost half of all women fail to exercise for 30 minutes a day and around 61% of all women are overweight or obese.

The study which produced these results is the Continuous Update Project-CUP which is funded by the World Cancer Research Fund-WCRF. Part of the project was carried out by Dr Teresa Norat and her team from Imperial College London.

Dr. Teresa specialises in the study of nutritional and lifestyle determinants of weight gain and also how diet affects cancer and the Imperial College team carried out the Systematic Literature Review on endometrial cancer.

In 2009 Imperial College also reported that “over 40 percent of colon and breast cancer cases are preventable through healthy diet, physical activity and weight maintenance” so it is not a great surprise to hear that other types of cancer are reduced by using the same methods.

38 Minutes of Exercise

The researchers found that up to 3700 women in the UK could avoid developing womb cancer by exercising for 38 minutes every day. Of course, this does not suggest that 38 minutes is a magic time limit for exercise, it is just that their research data threw up this figure. In reality you would probably be exercising for between 30 and 45 minutes if attending an exercise class and in an ideal world you should do a little more – aim for 60 minutes of exercise a day and you can afford to miss some days in the week.

If you are not exercising at all now the easiest way to get started is to do our 20 minute home workout every day and combine this with some brisk walking or other cardiovascular exercise. If you are feeling really brave you can just do our 20 minute workout twice to reduce risk of cancer!

7 Liefestyle Changes To Boost Health

Earlier this year Dr Teresa Norat discussed cancer prevention in general with respect to the World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research’s (WCRF/AICR) Recommendations for Cancer Prevention.

There are 7 lifestyle changes (6 for men), which when combined can reduce risk of developing deadly disease by around 50%. These are:

  1. Reducing Body Fat
  2. Increase Physical Activity
  3. Healthy Diet and Less Junk Food
  4. Eat More Plants
  5. Eat Less Red Meat
  6. Drink Less Alcohol
  7. Breastfeed (Women only)

Following these recommendation can boost health by:

  • 50% reduced chance of death caused by respiratory disease
  • 44% reduced chance of death caused by circulatory disease
  • 20% reduced chance of death from cancer

On the same day it was also reported that drinking coffee may help to prevent cancer (due to various antioxidants), however, the evidence for this is much slimmer and it is not a recommendation at the moment.


Womb cancer link to diet, exercise and possibly coffee – BBC News, accessed 11th September 2013.

The Associations between Food, Nutrition and Physical Activity and the Risk of Endometrial Cancer (pdf file). WCRF/AICR Systematic Literature Review Continuous Update Project. December 5th 2012.

Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity, and the Prevention of Cancer: a Global Perspective (2007).

Endometrial Cancer 2013 Report: Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity, and the Prevention of Endometrial Cancer (pdf file). Continuous Update Project CUP

World Cancer Research Fund / American Institute for Cancer Research. Continuous Update Project Report. Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity, and the Prevention of Endometrial Cancer. 2013.

WCRF report based on Imperial College London’s review and the evaluation of the Panel. (link gone)

Image by Blausen Medical Communications, Inc..

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