Higher body weight and taller stature during adolescence increase the risk of developing a rare type of cancer of the lymphatic system, shows new research.
Rates of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma have increased worldwide and research suggests that rising rates of obesity may be contributing to this trend.
“Obesity and overweight during adolescence are risk factors for future Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma,” said Merav Leiba from Sheba Medical Centre in Israel.
“It is important to be aware that overweight and obesity are not risk factors only for diabetes and cardiovascular disease but also for lymphomas,” added Leiba in the paper published in the journal CANCER.
To reach this conclusion, the team examined whether adolescent weight and height might be associated with the risk of developing NHL later in life.
The study included 2,352,988 teenagers aged 16 to 19 years, who were examined between 1967 and 2011.
Their information was linked to the Israel National Cancer Registry, which included 4,021 cases of NHL from 1967 through 2012.
There was also a stepwise gradient in NHL risk with increasing height.
The findings showed that adolescent overweight and obesity was associated with a 25 percent increased risk of NHL in later life, compared with normal weight and there was an association for multiple subtypes of NHL.
Excess height and weight were responsible for six percent and three percent of all NHL cases, respectively.
As for mechanism, height and excess nutrition in childhood may have impacts on inflammatory molecules and growth factors that could support the development of NHL but additional studies are needed to investigate these possibilities, the researchers stated.