Obese children have higher risks of developing cancer, a new study suggests. The study, conducted at the Tel Aviv University in collaboration with the Chaim Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer, and the IDF
Medical Corps, found a connection between childhood obesity and cancer at later life, specifically bladder colorectal cancer.
The research was conducted by a group including Dr. Adi Leiba, Prof. Arnon Afek, and Dr. Ari Shamiss, who analyzed the medical files of 1.1 million IDF male soldiers, considering 18 years worth of data.
The research shows that children who were in the top 15 percentile of the BMI chart were 42% more likely to develop bladder or colorectal cancer as adults than children who were within the healthy weight range.
According to the American Heart Association's data, one of three American children and teens is overweight or obese. Being overweight or obese are proven risk factors for diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and joint and muscle problems.
In comparison, a 2011 survey,
published by the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics, found that one in two Israelis is overweight or obese.
According to Dr. Shamiss, Director of the General Hospital at Sheba Medical Center, the present research compared the risk factors of overweight children with those of children who are considered to be of healthy weight, but did not assess whether weight loss lowers the risk.
"Future studies should focus on the correlation between obesity and cancer," he said.
"Such studies will need to examine whether weight loss in adolescence can reduce the risk of cancer."
"Experts discuss the health benefits of obesity-prevention in kids," Shamiss says, "but the findings of the recent research are even more alarming."