Adolescent obesity and midlife cancer risk

1. Adolescent obesity was significantly associated with cancer incidence in young and mid adulthood, and could be an important intervention target for early cancer prevention

Evidence Rating: 2 (Good)

Despite obesity being an established causal factor for at least 12 types of cancer, the relationship between youth obesity and cancers have been poorly characterized due to the vast majority of prior literature being focused on middle aged or older patients or spanning a wide age range. In this nationwide, population-based cohort study, the height and weight of 2.3 million Israeli adolescents under 17 years old were measured between 1967-2010 and tracked for up to 25 years. In 29,542,735 person-years of follow up in men, cancer incidence increased gradually across BMI percentiles, with the adjusted HR being 1.26 (95% CI, 1.18-1.35) among men with adolescent obesity. The association between adolescent obesity and incidence of cancer in men was evident even before the age of 30. In women with adolescent obesity, when excluding cervical and breast cancers, which were primarily driven by an inverse relationship, the adjusted HR was 1.27 (95% CI,1.13-1.44). Strong associations were found between adolescent BMI with colon, esophageal, hepatocellular, pancreatic, and kidney cancers in men, and colon, esophageal, liver and biliary, and ovarian cancers in women. Study findings strongly support that adolescent obesity is a major risk factor for cancer incidence in young and mid adulthood for both males and females, further emphasizing the importance of early lifestyle modification in obese youth, especially in light of increasing rates of severe adolescent obesity worldwide.

Click to read the study in Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology

Image: PD

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