Research published in the journal Gut, looked at data gathered from almost Researchers 240,000 Swedish men over a period of 35 years, with the figures showing a link between adolescent obesity and bowel cancer in later life.
When the figures were studied the researchers found that an overweight teenager is twice as likely as a teenager at a normal weight, to contract bowel cancer. These figures increased dramatically when a teenager was considered to be obese.
According to a report by the BBC, the World Cancer Research Fund said the link between obesity and cancer was “strong”.
It may not be a form of cancer that people are happy to discuss but in reality bowel cancer is a massive killer and is said to be the third most common cancer in the world, with nearly 1.4 million new cases being diagnosed each year.
The reasons behind the surge in the number of people with bowel cancer are not fully know, however it has been linked in the past to consuming processed red meat and to having a high percentage of abdominal fat.
The study is being taken seriously because it combines both a large sample group and a long time period, key in scientific circles for giving credence to a study.
When this study began the participants were all aged between 16 and 20 years old and the overwhelming majority were considered to be of a normal weight.
Of the test group some 6.5% were said to be overweight while only 1% were found to be obese.
There were 855 cases of colorectal cancer in the study which also demonstrated that not all weights were effected equally by the cancer which led to the claims of a link between obesity and bowel cancer, with those who were obese being 2.38 times more likely to have developed a bowel tumour.
The study, led by Orebro University Hospital in Sweden and Harvard University, said: “Late adolescence marks the transition from childhood to adulthood and is a period of accelerated growth, especially among men, thus this period may represent a critical window.”
“It is important that we understand the role of exposures in childhood and adolescence in the development of colorectal cancer.
“In fact, the strong association observed between adolescent obesity and early-to-mid-life colorectal cancer, coupled with the increasing prevalence of adolescent obesity, may shed light on the increase in colorectal cancer incidence among young adults,” he added.