A reduction in overall body fat, rather than abdominal fat, is associated with lower levels of breast cancer markers. The study published in Endocrine-Related Cancer, found that levels of several breast cancer risk markers were reduced in postmenopausal women who lost total body fat, rather than just belly fat.
These results emphasise the importance of maintaining a healthy weight.
In this study, 243 overweight, postmenopausal women lost 10-12 lb of weight over 16 weeks. Levels of sex hormones, leptin and inflammatory markers were compared to levels prior to weight loss. Total and abdominal fat changes were assessed using x-ray and MRI-based scans.
After 16 weeks a reduction in total body fat was associated with favourable changes in the levels of breast cancer risk markers, including sex hormones and leptin, whilst a reduction in belly fat was more associated with a reduction in inflammatory markers.
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