Overweight boys at high risk of colon cancer later

London: Is your son overweight? Beware, he may be at an increased greater risk of developing colon (bowel) cancer in adulthood as compared to his slimmer friends, researchers have warned.

A cancer of the colon or rectum, located at the digestive tract’s lower end is the third most common cancer in the world.

The results showed that boys who were overweight (BMI greater than 17.88 kg/m2) at age 7 years but normal weight (BMI under 25.0 kg/m2) as young men had similar risk of adult colon cancer as those who maintained a stable, healthy weight throughout.

In contrast, overweight boys who remained overweight as young men had twice the colon cancer risk.

“Overweight boys that lose weight and achieve a normal-weight status by young adulthood do not carry an increased risk of adult colon cancer compared with boys who remain normal-weight as young men,” said Britt Wang Jensen from Bispebjerg and Frederiksberg Hospital, in Denmark .

“However, overweight boys who remain overweight as young men have an increased risk of adult colon cancer. These results highlight the importance of weight management in childhood,” Jensen added.

The study was presented at European Congress on Obesity (ECO) in Portugal.

For the study, the team analysed the health records of over 61,000 Danish school boys born between 1939 and 1959, to examine how changes in BMI in childhood and young adulthood are associated with colon cancer risk in adulthood.

These young men were then followed from the age of 40 years to identify cases of colon cancer.

“Our next steps are to expand our focus and examine other forms of cancer along with other non-communicable diseases to study how a man’s weight development across his life, even from birth, is associated with his risk of disease,” Jensen noted.