Understanding the role of vegetarian diet, adiposity and grip strength in cancer risk

Parra Soto, Solange Liliana (2024) Understanding the role of vegetarian diet, adiposity and grip strength in cancer risk. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Cancer is a leading cause of death with rising incidence every year. Lifestyle factors play crucial roles in the risk of this disease. However, more evidence is needed to understand the association between diet, adiposity and physical activity with different cancer site, because most of the evidence still being inconclusive. Therefore, this thesis aims to determine the associations of type of diet, adiposity, grip strength with cancer risk.

The thesis includes four research papers that were conducted in order to achieve its general aim. These studies were conducted utilising data from the UK Biobank. Across these manuscripts, the associations between the different exposures (diet, adiposity and grip strength) and cancer outcomes were studied.

The cancer risks of four types of diet (meat eaters, poultry eaters, pescatarians, and vegetarians) were investigated in the first paper. The study found that vegetarians had a lower risk of all cancer than meat eaters. The study also found that vegetarians had a lower risk of 7 out of the 19 cancer sites studied, including stomach, bladder, and blood cancers. Pescatarians also had a lower risk of colorectal cancer than meat-eaters. The meta-analysis, which included 15 studies with 1,180,523 participants, supported the findings of the UK Biobank study, with vegetarians having a lower risk of all cancer and fish-eaters having a lower risk of gastric cancer than to meat-eaters.

The second study found that higher levels of all six adiposity-related markers were associated with a higher risk of developing and dying from cancer. BMI, waist circumference, hip circumference, and waist-to-hip ratio were positively associated with the incidence and mortality from several cancer types, including liver, lung, and pancreas cancers. The third study identified that both general obesity (defined as BMI ≥30 kg/m²) and central obesity (defined as waist circumference >90 cm for men and >84 cm for women) were independently associated with a higher risk of developing and dying from cancer. The combined presence of general and central obesity was associated with a higher risk of developing and dying from several colorectal, liver, and pancreatic cancers.

Finally, the fourth study found that both absolute and relative grip strength were inversely associated with the risk of cancer. The association between grip strength and cancer risk was consistent across different cancer types and subgroups of participants.

In conclusion, these four papers provide important insights into the roles of lifestyle factors on cancer risk and highlight the importance of maintaining a healthy diet, maintaining muscle strength, and maintaining a healthy body weight for cancer prevention. All of the studies included in the thesis were observational. Therefore, they cannot establish that a particular diet, adiposity, or grip strength caused cancer. However, they are in line with the current research on cancer prevention.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: Supported by funding from the Chilean government.
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
Colleges/Schools: College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > Public Health
Supervisor's Name: Celis-Morales, Dr. Carlos, Ho, Dr. Frederick and Pell, Professor Jill
Date of Award: 2024
Depositing User: Theses Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2024-84161
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 26 Mar 2024 16:06
Last Modified: 26 Mar 2024 16:15
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.84161
URI: https://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/84161
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