The number of cancers linked to obesity keeps rising. Now a new study finds that adults who were obese as children are at an increased risk for liver cancer. Not only that, the longer a child continues to be obese the higher their risk of developing liver cancer later in life. These findings held up even after removing other contributing factors from their assessment.
The study included an examination of the birth weight and body mass index (BMI) of more than 165,000 men and 160,000 women in Denmark born between 1930 and 1989. Among the participants, 252 developed the most common form of liver cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma.
The researchers found a correlation between BMI and liver cancer risk. At age 7 the risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma increased by 12% for every one point increase in BMI. By age 13, the risk increased to 25%. As BMI increased into adulthood, so did the risk of liver cancer. These results were similar for both men and women over time.
While other factors such as alcoholism, hepatitis B and C infection, and other liver diseases can contribute to liver cancer, the study results did not change when participants with these conditions were excluded from the study. Therefore childhood obesity was the major factor in the development of hepatocellular carcinoma, said the researchers.
When you consider all the health risks associated with obesity: cancer, metabolic disorders such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease, gout, osteoarthritis, sleep disorders, and a host of other health problems, the implications are quite alarming.