Research: Overweight status tied to cancer risk

Research wordResearch word

Being overweight before age forty linked to increased cancer risk.

Obese with Measuring Tape
Obese with Measuring Tape

Cancer is on the rise around the globe and most of the increased risk is because we are living longer and as our cells age, the risk goes up. Obesity is also a well establish risk for several types of cancer. Adult weight gain has been show to be link to cancers, but at what age does this risk appear to begin. Prior research is very limited.

A recent study explains some of age related link increase and when it begins. This study looked at the the risk for cancer in people who over weight and obese. The study was published in International Journal of Epidemiology. The researchers examined the impact of BMI (body mass index) and weight changes over time, as well as the timing and duration of excess weight, on obesity and non-obesity-related cancers.

In this cohort study, researchers pooled health data from six European studies that included Over 220,000 individuals with two or more height and weight measurements. Cancer cases were identified through linkage with national cancer registries. The HR of all obesity-related cancers increased with increasing BMI. In particular, participants who were overweight before age 40 years had a higher risk of obesity-related cancers. The risk increase was particularly high for endometrial (70%), male renal-cell (58%) and male colon cancer (29%). No positive associations were seen for cancers not regarded as obesity-related.

The bottom line: Adult weight gain was associated with increased risk of several major cancers. The degree, timing and duration of overweight and obesity also seemed to be important, but more research is needed. I would use this as motivation for weight loss, because, preventing weight gain may reduce the cancer risk.

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About the Author

I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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