Being overweight has been linked with a higher risk of developing a form of kidney cancer called renal cell carcinoma (RCC) among adults, but it's unclear if this risk is present during adolescence. In an International Journal of Cancer study of adolescents who were followed for 37 years, researchers observed a trend for higher RCC risk with increasing body mass index during adolescence, where one-unit increase in body mass index conferred a six percent increased risk of RCC.
The study included 238,788 Swedish men who underwent mandatory military conscription assessment between 1969 and 1976 at an average age of 18.5 years. Over the next 37 years, 266 men were diagnosed with RCC.
"This is, to our knowledge, one of the first studies to show that overweight and obesity in adolescence, in a large cohort, is associated with a substantially increased risk of developing renal cancer later in life," said co-author Dr. Pernilla Sundqvist, of University Hospital Örebro, in Sweden. "New data supporting a link between adolescent overweight/obesity--alone and in combination with low physical working capacity--and renal cancer adds further important evidence supporting the implementation of early interventions within the rapidly growing group of overweight and obese teenagers."