Association of body mass index in early adulthood and middle age with future site-specific cancer mortality: the Harvard alumni health study

Gray, L. , Lee, I.-M., Sesso, H.D. and Batty, G.D. (2012) Association of body mass index in early adulthood and middle age with future site-specific cancer mortality: the Harvard alumni health study. Annals of Oncology, 23(3), pp. 754-759. (doi: 10.1093/annonc/mdr270)

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Abstract

Background: The association between adiposity in early adulthood and subsequent development of specific malignancies is unclear. Further, the potential for mediation by adiposity in middle age has not been well examined. In a rare study, we investigated the association of body mass index (BMI) in early adulthood with mortality from several site-specific cancers. Design: In the Harvard Alumni Health Study cohort, 19 593 males had a physical examination at the university between 1914 and 1952 (mean age: 18.4 years) and returned a questionnaire in 1962 or 1966 (mean age = 45.1 years). BMI was computed using weight (kg)/height2 (m2) at both time points. Vital status follow up continued for a maximum of 82 years. Results: Positive early adulthood cancer mortality gradients by BMI were found for all malignancies combined (adjusted hazard ratio [HR] = 1.11; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.05–1.17 for a one standard deviation increase in early adulthood BMI), and for lung (HR = 1.24; 95% CI = 1.10–1.40) and skin (HR = 1.29; 95% CI = 0.96–1.75) cancers. There were also apparent associations for cancers of the oesophagus and urogenital sites. Mediation by BMI in middle age was found to be minimal. Conclusion: Higher BMI in early adulthood appears to be a direct risk factor for selected malignancies several decades later.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Gray, Dr Linsay and Batty, Dr G
Authors: Gray, L., Lee, I.-M., Sesso, H.D., and Batty, G.D.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > MRC/CSO SPHSU
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > Public Health
Journal Name:Annals of Oncology
ISSN:0923-7534
ISSN (Online):1569-8041
Published Online:15 June 2011

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