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Risk of liver disease and cancer starts in adolescence in overweight men, study finds

The risk of liver disease and cancer starts from late adolescence in overweight or obese men, research suggests.
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The risk of liver disease and cancer starts from late adolescence in overweight or obese men, research suggests.

Researchers from Sweden used register data from more than 1.2 million Swedish men enlisted for conscription between 1969 and 1996.

They also linked data on severe liver disease, liver cancer and type 2 diabetes during follow-up from population-based registers. The men were followed up from one year after conscription until 31 December 2012.

Early intervention

The research, published in the journal Gut, discovered that overweight men were nearly 50% more likely to develop liver disease in later life than men of normal weight, while obese men were more than twice as likely.

A high body mass index associated with an increased risk

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The risk of liver disease and cancer starts from late adolescence in overweight or obese men, research suggests.


Overweight men were nearly 50% more likely to develop liver disease in later
life than men of normal weight. Picture: Alamy 

Researchers from Sweden used register data from more than 1.2 million Swedish men enlisted for conscription between 1969 and 1996.

They also linked data on severe liver disease, liver cancer and type 2 diabetes during follow-up from population-based registers. The men were followed up from one year after conscription until 31 December 2012.

Early intervention

The research, published in the journal Gut, discovered that overweight men were nearly 50% more likely to develop liver disease in later life than men of normal weight, while obese men were more than twice as likely.

A high body mass index associated with an increased risk of developing severe liver disease appears to be present from an early age and is heightened by the development of type 2 diabetes, the study found.

The authors conclude: 'Interventions to reduce the increasing prevalence of overweight and obesity should be implemented from an early age to reduce the future burden of severe liver disease on individuals and society.'


Hagström H et al (2017) High BMI in late adolescence predicts future severe liver disease and hepatocellular carcinoma: a national, population-based cohort study in 1.2 million men. http://gut.bmj.com/lookup/doi/10.1136/gutjnl-2016-313622

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