Does Childhood Obesity Increase the Risk of Adult Cancer?

New research published in the journal of Cancer Epidemiology. Biomarkers and Prevention and Obesity concluded that obesity in adolescents has a direct link to the incidence of urothelial (bladder and urinary tract) and colorectal cancers in adulthood when obesity is defined as a Body Mass Index (BMI) in the 85th percentile and above. This group of adolescent has a 1.42% greater chance (50% higher risk) of developing urothelial or colorectal cancer in adulthood than those beneath it.

Researchers conducted a longitudinal study of 1.1 million males in the Israel Defense Force using health information collected by the army for a follow-up period of 18 years. When controlled for factors such as year of birth and education, the researchers discovered a clear link between childhood BMI and those diagnosed with urothelial or colorectal cancer later in life. Although at this time the researchers have only found a link between childhood  BMI and these types of cancer later in life they believe further research may find a wider range of cancers including pancreatic cancer which they are currently researching. Further research will evaluate whether or not obesity is a direct risk factor for cancer or a confounding factor for a genetic variation and whether or not a successful weight loss program can reduce a child’s risk of developing urothelial and colorectal cancer in adulthood.

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