Women who were underweight had a 47 percent increased overall risk of death and extremely obese women had a 43 percent increased risk, according to the study presented earlier this week to the American Association of Cancer Research. Compared to those with the lowest waist-to-hip ratio, women with the highest waist-to-hip ratio (highest level of abdominal fat) had a 30 percent increased overall risk of death and a 36 percent increased risk for breast-cancer-related death.
The findings support the common recommendation to maintain a healthy weight throughout life, said Marilyn Kwan, a research scientist in the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research. She noted, however, that the long-term impact of weight on survival after breast cancer might not be the same in all patients.
Although this study found an association between weight and risk, it’s important to note that this does not prove a cause-and-effect link. The results are considered preliminary because they have not yet been published.