Overweight teens have boosted odds of colon cancer

Overweight teens have been found to have a higher likelihood of developing colon cancer later in life, particularly when they are living through their middle years. The study found that those who were overweight or obese while they were living through their younger years, like their adolescent years, they were 2.4 times more likely to develop colon cancer when they got older. The study comes as more and more research reveals the real cost of weight that continues to pile on our youth. The study was led by Elizabeth Kantor of the Harvard School of Public Health and was published on Monday in the journal Gut.

This has major implications for the medical community because it gives medical professionals a new avenue to look at in terms of what diseases to screen for later in life. This though, like much of the research being published in recent years points to more proactive documentation of medical history. Observing simple things like this, can reduce the necessity of obscure and expensive medical testing that can get complicated.

The study pointed out that, “Late adolescence marks the transition from childhood to adulthood and is a period of accelerated growth, especially among men, thus this period may represent a critical window. It is important that we understand the role of exposures in childhood and adolescence in the development of colorectal cancer.”


Rachel Thompson, of the World Cancer Research Fund pointed out though that, “This finding is interesting because it gives an indication that bowel cancer risk might be affected by our lifestyle habits throughout the life course.” This is just the latest research to point out the importance of healthy habits throughout the course of a persons youth and into their adult years. She went on to point out that, “In some ways, research into the relationship between factors like obesity and cancer risk is still in its infancy. It will be interesting to see if further research emerges in the future to back up the apparent relationship between body fatness in youth and later-life cancer risk.”


One of the more interesting pieces of information though that came from the study was the connection between body mass index and colon cancer. The study found that there were connections beyond inflammation, which is more than what researchers previously thought. That’s an important note because it points out that there are bigger biological pieces at play than just the ones at the surface, which doctors have known about for some time.

It has been study after study that is continuing to indicate just how important health at a young age is, yet the numbers overwhelmingly suggest that the trend is young people becoming less healthy. That’s a problem because the long-term impacts are clearly substantial.


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