BRITISH women are putting themselves at risk of ­developing cancer because of their lack of ­physical activity, a charity has warned.

The World Cancer Research Fund alert comes after figures suggested women in the UK have the 10th highest rate in the world for cancers diagnoses linked to a sedentary lifestyle.

Experts have estimated that 12% of bowel and breast cancers and one in 10 womb cancer cases in the UK could be prevented if women did more exercise.

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In 2012, almost 80,000 ­British women were diagnosed with these cancers, a rate of 133 women per every 100,000, the charity said.

In Barbados, which tops the chart, 154.9 women in every 100,000 developed bowel, breast or womb cancer.

The figure is only slightly lower for second-worst placed Belgium, where 154.5 women in every 100,000 developed one of the three diseases.

"It is a major concern that women in the UK are placed so highly in the world for cancers that are partially preventable through people being more physically active," commented Dr Rachel Thompson, head of research interpretation at the World Cancer Research Fund.

"These figures reflect the sedentary lifestyles of many people in Western countries, with lots of us spending too much time sitting around and not incorporating ­physical activity into our daily routine. Regular ­activity can help strengthen the immune system, keep hormone levels healthy and the digestive system in good shape, all of which help reduce our chances of ­developing cancer."

The charity has launched its 100 Calorie Challenge to help people reduce their risk of cancer through small lifestyle changes, including being more ­physically active.