obesity increases the harmful effects of alcohol

The Australian study making this link was presented at the last European Obesity Congress a few days ago.

Researchers from the University of Sydney suggest that overweight and obesity are likely to aggravate the harmful effects of alcohol on the risk of developing cancer.

Their results were unveiled at the European Congress on Obesity which took place in the Netherlands from 4 to 7 May.

A large cohort analyzed

For the purposes of this study, reports WhyDoctor?, the data from the UK BioBank cohort were scrutinized: body fat rate, waist circumference and body mass index (BMI), but also alcohol consumption, linked to cancers known to be favored by alcohol and obesity were researched in nearly 400,000 people aged 40 to 69.

Important fact: none of the participants in this vast collection of health data had developed cancer at the start of the work, which lasted 12 years.

Three groups were formed according to the percentage of body fat, waist circumference and BMI and according to alcohol-related habits.

Obesity-alcohol and cancer: results of the study

Thus, during this twelve-year follow-up, a diagnosis of cancer associated with alcohol concerned 17,617 of the participants and cancer linked to obesity, 20,214 people.

Thus, participants who had a higher body fat percentage but followed the alcohol consumption guidelines had a 53% higher risk of developing alcohol-related cancers, compared to those whose body fat percentage was much weaker and who never consumed alcohol. Participants who were obese and exceeded the health rules in terms of alcohol had a 61% higher risk of developing cancer.

Finally, participants with larger waist circumferences who drank heavily had a 17% additional risk of developing obesity-related cancer compared to people with smaller waist circumferences who never drank alcohol.

Prof. Elif Inan-Eroglu, nutrition and dietetics specialist at the University of Sydney and lead author of the study, summed up: “Our results suggest that obese people, especially those with excess body fat, need to be more aware of the risks associated with alcohol consumption. Further research is needed to better understand the mechanisms underlying this joint effect of alcohol consumption and obesity on cancer risk.”.

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