Experts have proposed the idea of lowering the obesity threshold after discovering that many individuals with ‘normal’ BMIs are at risk of developing multiple cancers. Two significant studies have revealed that men with a body mass index between 20 and 22.5 have an increased risk of developing eight different types of cancer, including head and neck, pancreatic, and liver cancers.
BMI is a basic measurement used to determine the amount of body fat a person has in relation to their height. A healthy BMI range is considered to be between 18.5 and 24.9, while a BMI of 25 to 29.9 is classified as overweight, and anything over 30 is defined as obese.
Researchers in Sweden conducted a study involving over 1.5 million men, tracking them from their teenage years for nearly four decades. The aim was to establish a connection between teenage weight and the risk of developing cancer later in life. The study found that individuals who were overweight or obese with a BMI of at least 25 at the age of 18 were more likely to develop 17 different types of cancer, including head and neck, brain, thyroid, bladder, and liver cancer.
The researchers projected the number of cancer cases in the US and Sweden that can be attributed to high BMI, as well as the projected number of cases by 2050. The findings emphasized the impact of high BMI on cancer rates.
Another study revealed that individuals with a ‘normal’ BMI were also up to 49 percent more likely to develop eight specific cancers, including head and neck, esophageal, stomach, pancreatic, liver, kidney, melanoma, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Based on these increased risks, the researchers suggested that the definition of ‘normal’ weight for young adults needs to be reevaluated.
Dr. Maria Åberg, the senior author of both studies and a professor of family medicine at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, stated that these findings indicate the need to reconsider the current definition of ‘normal’ weight. The research highlights the importance of addressing the potential health risks associated with a ‘normal’ BMI.Applicable primarily for older adults, an optimal weight as a young adult is likely to be in a lower range. Studies in children have shown that childhood obesity can harm the immune system and cause cellular changes that increase the risk of cancer later in life, even if they lose weight. Being overweight as a young adult has been found to increase the risk of developing 18 different types of cancer, more than previously thought. In a pair of studies, researchers evaluated 1,489,115 Swedish men over a span of several decades and found that overweight and obese men were more likely to develop 17 forms of cancer, including lung, head and neck, brain, thyroid, pancreatic, colorectal, kidney, and bladder cancers, as well as melanoma, leukemia, myeloma, and lymphoma. The risk was highest for abdominal cancers like esophageal, stomach, and kidney cancers. Overweight or obese men were also more likely to die within five years of being diagnosed with certain cancers, such as Hodgkin lymphoma, skin, thyroid, bladder, and prostate cancer. They were also at a higher risk of dying from cancers of the head and neck, rectum, and kidneys. The study author emphasized the need to address the rising trend of obesity in childhood and adolescence.A study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine examined men who enrolled in compulsory military service and found that those with lower cardiorespiratory fitness (CPF) had a higher risk of various types of cancer.
Another study, published in Nature Communications, discovered that Spanish adults who were overweight or obese before the age of 40 were at a greater risk of developing 18 different types of cancer, including leukemia, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, bladder, head, and neck cancers.
The researchers also found that men who were overweight or obese, with a BMI of at least 25, at the age of 18 were more likely to develop 17 different cancers, including head and neck, brain, thyroid, bladder, and liver cancer.
According to a factbox published in the Daily Mail, overweight and obese young men are at a greater risk of 17 cancers, including lung, head and neck, brain, thyroid, esophageal, stomach, pancreatic, liver, colon, rectal, kidney, bladder, melanoma, leukemia, myeloma, Hodgkin lymphoma, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Similarly, young men with a “normal” BMI between 20 and 22.4 are at a greater risk of eight cancers, including head and neck, esophageal, stomach, pancreatic, liver, kidney, melanoma, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, according to another factbox published in the Daily Mail.
Both factboxes cite the sources Obesity and Cancer Medicine.
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