Obesity In Youth Can Cause Oesophagal Cancer
- India had the fifth most obese population in 2014
- Being overweight at the age of 20 may cause cancer
- Obesity can cause oesophagal and stomach cancer
Obesity has become one of India’s leading health problems and the recent surge in India’s obese population is a matter of grave concern. Data obtained from a study conducted by the UK based medical journal The Lancet in 2014 showed that India has the fifth most obese male population
in the world, with 9.8 million men or 3.7 per cent of the global population. India also has the third most obese female population in the world, with 20 million or 5.3 per cent of the global population.
Apart from causing cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, findings have shown that obesity in the early twenties can also cause cancer of the oesophagus or upper stomach. India, where over 7 lakh people are diagnosed with cancer every year is already battling a tough health opponent in cancer. Cancer caused due to obesity will only add to India’s rising health concerns.
A recent research conducted by the National Cancer Institute in Maryland, United States found that those who are overweight at the age of 20 are nearly 60-80 per cent more likely to develop these cancers in later life, compared to those who maintained a healthy weight.
Those who gained more than 20 kg during adulthood were also twice as likely to develop oesophageal cancer compared to people who had little weight change. Carrying excess weight can trigger long-term reflux problems and heartburn that can lead to cancer.
Obesity can also cause hormonal changes, like affecting the levels of insulin, or sex hormones like oestrogen and testosterone, and even lead to inflammation — all of which are factors associated with an increased cancer risk, the researchers said.
The study highlights how weight gain over the course of our lives can increase the risk of developing these two cancer types, both of which have extremely poor survival rate,” said lead author Jessica Petrick from the National Cancer Institute in Maryland, US.
For the study, published in the British Journal of Cancer, the team pooled data from more than 400,000 people and analysed their reported height and weight at ages 20 and 50. The study highlighted the importance of keeping a healthy weight throughout life to reduce the risk of developing these cancers.
To combat obesity, small steps like taking the stairs more often, keeping an eye on the quantity of food consumed and switching to sugar-free drinks are simple things we all can do to keep a healthy weight, the researchers suggested.