Health & Spirit

Why belly fat increases cancer risk and what to do about it

By Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. on

From Mike Biggs (in "Mike & Molly") to Dan Conner (in "Roseanne") and Doug Heffernan (in "King of Queens"), TV is loaded with loveable, belt-bulging, big guys. And while we may find these men make great company for a half an hour, truth is they're risking life and limb by carrying around that front-loaded belly fat.

Fat lodged around your internal organs is called visceral fat, and it's clearly implicated not just in the development of heart disease and diabetes, but also in many cancers. That we've known for years. What we haven't known until now is exactly why deep-dwelling belly fat fuels cancerous malignancies.

Now, a study in the journal Oncogene reveals that a certain protein (fibroblast growth factor-2) released in greatest quantities from visceral body fat causes non-cancerous cells to turn cancerous! And that's why body mass index, or BMI, may not be the best indicator of an amped up risk for cancer. Normal-weight folks with belly fat pump out that protein too.

How to Burn Your Belly Fat

De-stress -- The stress hormone cortisol fuels belly fat deposits. So, start with mindful meditation and then:

--Go for 150 minutes weekly of extra activity; get there by targeting 10,000 steps daily.

--Eliminate all trans fats (anything partially hydrogenated), most sat fats and eat five to nine servings of produce and two servings of 100 percent whole grains daily.

--Women, target a 35-inch waist; men, 40 inches or less.

That will trim down your risk for cancer, big time.


Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit

(c) 2017 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2017 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.


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