'Beer belly' raises middle-aged men's risk of prostate cancer death. (Courtesy)

Men with beer guts are a third more likely to die from prostate cancer than those with slimmer bellies, experts claim. Researchers at the University of Oxford studied 220,000 UK men aged 40 to 69 for 11 years. Those with a larger waist were 35% more likely to die while those with a higher waist to hip ratio were at 34% greater risk of death.

Total body fat had no impact on the chances of dying from the most common male cancer, suggesting that where men carry their excess weight is the key risk factor. There are around 48,500 new prostate cancer cases in the UK every year with some 12,000 men dying annually.

Dr Aurora Perez-Cornago, who led the study, said: “We found a significant association between concentration of body fat around the belly and waist and the risk of prostate cancer death, but no clear association between total body fat and risk of prostate cancer death.”

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Her team compared men in the top 25% for waist size at over 40in to those in the bottom 25%, who measured less than 35in. Despite the findings suggesting belly fat was the biggest danger, Dr Perez-Cornago warned being overweight, generally, is bad for health.

She added: “A high BMI increases the risk of other diseases, including other types of cancer, so people should consider the implications of excess fat, wherever it is.”

A separate study by Slimming World showed more than half of us found it difficult to manage our weight during lockdown.