Overweight children may be at higher risk of oesophageal cancer

9 February 2015

Compared to children who are a healthy weight, young people are far more likely to develop oesophageal cancer if they are overweight, a new study has found.

The research, published in the British Journal of Cancer, looked at health records from more than 255,000 Danish school children whose height and weight was measured every year between the ages of seven and 13. This was used to calculate their body mass index (BMI).

Out of the children surveyed, more than 250 went on to develop oesophageal cancer over the age of 40. The researchers found that children who had a high BMI when they were aged 9-13, appeared to be at greater risk of developing this type of cancer in later life.

Using their results, the team estimated that 2.1 per cent of all oesophageal cases of adult men in Denmark could be attributed to boys being overweight or obese at the age of 13. However, they calculate that this could be up to 17.5 per cent of all these male oesophageal cancer cases in the future because of the rise in childhood obesity.

Posted by Philip Briggs

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