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The use and interpretation of anthropometric measures in cancer epidemiology: A perspective from the world cancer research fund international continuous update project

Bandera, EV; Fay, SH; Giovannucci, E; Leitzmann, MF; Marklew, R; McTiernan, A; Mullee, A; ... World Cancer Research Fund International Continuous Update Panel, .; + view all (2016) The use and interpretation of anthropometric measures in cancer epidemiology: A perspective from the world cancer research fund international continuous update project. International Journal of Cancer , 139 (11) pp. 2391-2397. 10.1002/ijc.30248. Green open access

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Abstract

Anthropometric measures relating to body size, weight and composition are increasingly being associated with cancer risk and progression. Whilst practical in epidemiologic research, where population-level associations with disease are revealed, it is important to be aware that such measures are imperfect markers of the internal physiological processes that are the actual correlates of cancer development. Body mass index (BMI), the most commonly used marker for adiposity, may mask differences between lean and adipose tissue, or fat distribution, which varies across individuals, ethnicities, and stage in the lifespan. Other measures, such as weight gain in adulthood, waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio, contribute information on adipose tissue distribution and insulin sensitivity. Single anthropometric measures do not capture maturational events, including the presence of critical windows of susceptibility (i.e., age of menarche and menopause), which presents a challenge in epidemiologic work. Integration of experimental research on underlying dynamic genetic, hormonal, and other non-nutritional mechanisms is necessary for a confident conclusion of the overall evidence in cancer development and progression. This article discusses the challenges confronted in evaluating and interpreting the current evidence linking anthropometric factors and cancer risk as a basis for issuing recommendations for cancer prevention.

Type: Article
Title: The use and interpretation of anthropometric measures in cancer epidemiology: A perspective from the world cancer research fund international continuous update project
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1002/ijc.30248
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1002/ijc.30248
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Adiposity, anthropometry, body composition, cancer, height
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Clinical, Edu and Hlth Psychology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1503755
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