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Substantial Weight Gain in Adults May Increase the Risk of Cancer

Nov 08, 2016 04:47 AM EST
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Older adults who have experienced substantial weight gain over many years were more likely to develop obesity-related cancers, a new study suggests.

The study, presented t the National Cancer Research Institute's (NCRI) Cancer Conference in Liverpool, showed that gaining substantial weight over many years increases the risk of obesity-related cancer by 50 percent in men and almost 20 percent in women.

"This research shows how important it is to look at weight gain over a person's lifetime - to give a clearer picture of cancer risk through life compared to assessing someone's BMI at a single point," said Dr Hannah Lennon, a researchers at The University of Manchester and lead author of the study, in a statement.

For the study, the researchers looked at the changes in BMI of nearly 300,000 people in America between the ages of 18 and 64. The researchers conducted a follow-up after an average of 15 years. Among the participants, around 9,400 women and 5,500 men were diagnosed with obesity-related cancer.

Additionally, the researchers found that men who went from a BMI of around 22 to 27 had 50 percent increased risk of developing obesity- related cancer. On the other hand, women who went from a BMI of 23 to around 32 were 17 percent more likely to develop obesity-related cancer compared to healthy women who stayed in the healthy BMI. Men who were previously classified as overweight and went on to become morbidly obese have 53 percent increased risk of developing obesity-related cancer compared to the healthy group.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity increases the risk of endometrial, breast, colon, kidney, gallbladder and liver cancers. Some obesity-related cancers only affects women, including womb cancer and ovarian cancer.

In the United States, more than a quarter, or 36.5 percent, of adults are diagnosed with obesity. Aside from cancer, other obesity-related conditions include heart attack, stroke and type 2 diabetes.

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