As childhood obesity continues to grow in spite of multiple efforts to educate the wider population and set up campaigns that promote a healthier lifestyle, studies constantly reveal that there are multiple risk factors linked to this disease that could prevent the future adult from having a normal life.
A team of American researchers from Harvard School of Public Health, in association with Swedish researchers have recently proved that obese and even overweight teenagers face a risk twice as high as normal teenagers to develop bowel cancer when they grow up.
It is already known that bowel cancer is more common in people who are obese or overweight, but researchers reveal that these causes should be traced back to adolescence.
In order to come to these results, the researchers had to analyze the records of 240,000 Swedish men who were born between 1952 and 1956. The records were from the early 1970s, when the men had to undergo a conscription assessment before joining the Swedish army. They were aged 16 to 20 back then.
Their weight and height were recorded and they took the ESR (erythrocyte sedimentation rate) test that was able to show if there was a predisposition to particular types of illnesses, based on the inflammation level in their bodies.
Even if most of the teenagers assessed back then had a normal body mass index (81 percent), some of them (1.5 percent) were overweight and a few (1 percent) were obese.
When their health was assessed 35 years later, it was shown that 885 had bowel cancer. What was more interesting was that the men who had been overweight when they were teenagers faced a 2.08 times higher risk of having this form of cancer and the ones in the obese category had a 2.38 higher chance than the ones who were of normal weight according to the records.
The authors of the study admit that their research has a few limitations, given its observational character and the fact that female participants were not taken into consideration.
Nevertheless, even if further research is needed, such a study could raise some question marks and maybe point at the alarming effects obesity has on children.
The results of the study were published in the journal Gut.
Image Source: themissgproject