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BMJ 1997; 314 doi: (Published 17 May 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;314:1494

How late in pregnancy is termination justifiable on the grounds of a likelihood of physical or mental abnormalities causing serious handicap? In 1994 in Britain there were 94 terminations after 24 weeks. Late termination may be the best solution in some cases, says David Paintin in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (1997;104:398-400) “to enable the woman to avoid the considerable long term burden of providing care for a severely handicapped child.”

Men and women who are 40% overweight have mortality ratios from cancer of 1.33 and 1.55 respectively (ECP News 1997;30:9-11). In men the increased risk is due to higher rates of cancers of the large bowel and prostate, while in women the excess is found in cancers of the breast, endometrium, cervix, ovary, and gall bladder. The excess risk for cancer is smaller than risks for coronary heart disease or diabetes, but it is nevertheless important in practical terms.

And if obesity is a risk factor for breast cancer, it should not be too surprising that physical activity gives some protection against it. Research in Norway (New England Journal of Medicine 1997;336:1269-75) has shown that women who took regular physical exercise had a risk of breast cancer that was only two thirds of that in women whose work and leisure was spent in …

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