Waist Size Linked to Breast Cancer, Study Finds

TIME

Trading in smaller skirt sizes for bigger ones is linked to a higher risk of breast cancer, finds a new study published in BMJ Open.

But it’s what underneath the skirt—an expanding waist—that counts.

Research already suggests that gaining weight puts women more at risk for breast cancer, since fat tissue spurs the production of estrogen, which feeds the growth of breast tumors. The kind of fat around your waist seems to be especially telling: Some studies have found that waist circumference is better than BMI at assessing the risk for many conditions. In an attempt to give women an “easy to understand message,” researchers of this new study measured waist thickness by the number on their subjects’ skirt tags.

The study looked at data from about 93,000 mostly overweight, postmenopausal women in the U.K. Collaborative Trial of Ovarian Cancer. After gathering various kinds of health data from the women—like…

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