Almost half of women are putting themselves at risk of cancer due to their bulging waistlines, experts warned today.
While a common perception is that men carry more weight around their middle, Government figures show 44 per cent of women in England have a large waistline, compared with 32 per cent of men.
Experts recommend that women have a healthy waist measurement of less than 31.5in (80cm) while white and black men keep to less than 37in (94cm).
Asian men should keep their waist measurement under 35in (90cm) due to higher risks from too much fat.
Experts from the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) called on both sexes to think about shedding a few pounds. Excess body fat increases the risk of all cancers, but is strongly linked to cancers of the bowel, pancreas, breast and womb lining.
Dr Rachel Thompson, deputy head of science for the WCRF, said: "We tend to think that men are more likely to put weight on their stomach.
"But these statistics show that, actually, women in England are more likely to have a raised waist circumference than men.
He added: "We need to raise awareness among both men and women that both being overweight and having a large waistline are cancer risk factors."