Your weight during young adulthood appears to have a significant influence on your future risk of getting several major cancers. That was the conclusion of an illuminating new study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology.
For this study, scientists followed the body mass index (BMI) and cancer status of more than 220,000 adults for an average period of 18 years. Subjects who were obese – had a BMI of 30 or more – from the start of the study and remained obese had the highest risk of developing cancer.
Male study subjects who were obese from the outset were 64% more likely to develop cancer, and females were 48% more likely. Lesser degrees of weight gain can also be tied to a greater risk of developing cancer.
More specifically, the data revealed that if you were overweight (BMI over 25) before the age of 40, the risk of getting cancer in the future increased as follows:
- 70% for uterine cancer.
- 58% for kidney (renal cell) cancer in males.
- 29% for colon cancer in males.
- 15% for all weight-related cancers in both sexes.
Finally, the study showed that gaining weight over time, regardless of beginning weight, increased future cancer risk.
Bottom line: Keeping your weight in the normal range and avoiding weight gain (even small amounts) throughout adulthood is a key strategy for reducing your risk of cancer.
Dr. Ann Kulze is founder and CEO of Just Wellness and has a knack for breaking down the science of healthy eating and living into simple and easily digestible messages. She has been featured on “Dr. Oz,” “Oprah and Friends,” WebMD and U.S. News & World Report. Alabama NewsCenter is publishing advice from Dr. Ann.