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High adolescent body mass index doubles chance of developing colorectal cancer

Overweight and obese teens may have double the risk of developing colorectal cancer in middle-age compared with normal weight peers.

Researchers tracked the health of 240,000 Swedish men, who were conscripted into the military between the ages of 16 and 20 in 1969-76.

Following a health check at enlistment, the men were monitored for colorectal cancer up to 2010, using national cancer registry data.

At conscription, almost 12% of the men were underweight, almost 81% were of normal weight, 5% were moderately overweight, 1.5% were very overweight and 1% were obese.

During an average 35-year monitoring period, 885 of the men developed colorectal cancer. Compared with normal weight (BMI 18.5 to <25 kg/m 2 ) at enlistment in late adolescence, upper overweight (BMI 27.5 to <30 kg/m 2 ) was associated with a 2.08-fold higher risk of colorectal cancer, while obesity (BMI 30+ kg/m 2 ) was associated with a 2.38 higher risk.

The study also found that high levels of systemic inflammation, indicated by erythrocyte

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Researchers tracked the health of 240,000 Swedish men, who were conscripted into the military between the ages of 16 and 20 in 1969-76.

Following a health check at enlistment, the men were monitored for colorectal cancer up to 2010, using national cancer registry data.

At conscription, almost 12% of the men were underweight, almost 81% were of normal weight, 5% were moderately overweight, 1.5% were very overweight and 1% were obese.

During an average 35-year monitoring period, 885 of the men developed colorectal cancer. Compared with normal weight (BMI 18.5 to <25 kg/m2) at enlistment in late adolescence, upper overweight (BMI 27.5 to <30 kg/m2) was associated with a 2.08-fold higher risk of colorectal cancer, while obesity (BMI 30+ kg/m2) was associated with a 2.38 higher risk.

The study also found that high levels of systemic inflammation, indicated by erythrocyte sedimentation rate in adolescence was linked to a 63% heightened risk of colorectal cancer in later life.

Further studies are needed to help inform preventive strategies, conclude the researchers.

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