A recent Swedish study has claimed that overweight teenagers are twice as likely to develop colon cancer in middle age. The study was an attempt to understand the link between obesity and the associated risk of bowel inflammation and cancer.
The researchers examined the health records of nearly 240,000 Swedish males who were recruited in the military between 1969 and 1976. All were aged between 16 and 20.
The health data included information on erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), weight and height. The National Cancer Register, on the other hand, allowed the researchers to take a note of the men who were diagnosed with bowel cancer later in life. The monitoring of the development of bowel cancer took place until the year 2010.
Out of the entire subject population, nearly 12 percent of the men were underweight, 81 had normal weight, and nearly 1 percent were obese. The rest were moderately to heavily overweight.
The researchers found that 885 men developed colon cancer later in life, with 348 suffering from rectal cancer. The team also found that men who were obese were at a greater risk of developing colon cancer. The researchers also linked teenage obesity with an increased risk of developing the disease during middle age.
The men's ESRs were found to have a relation with the risk for colon cancer. The researchers found that men with higher ESR were at an increased risk of developing the disease. The study did not take into account the body mass index (BMI) and the inflammatory status of the recruited men during adulthood.
The complete study has been published in the journal Gut, an international journal for research in gastroenterology.