Overweight in teens linked to ovarian cancer

August 6, 2002 in Cancer Prevention, Nutrition for Children and Teenagers, Weight Management, Women's Health

Overweight in teens linked to ovarian cancer

According to a new study from Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts, women who are overweight as teenagers may be more likely than slender women to develop premenopausal ovarian cancer later in life.

In the current study, the scientists assessed current weight, weight at age 18 and adult weight change, in relation to ovarian cancer risk. While current weight and weight gain over time were not associated with ovarian cancer, women who reported that they were overweight or obese when they were 18 years old were roughly twice as likely to develop premenopausal ovarian cancer.

Women who had a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or greater had a greater risk of premenopausal ovarian cancer compared with women who had a BMI of less than 20. BMI is a measurement that takes into account a person's height and weight; values of 25 to 29 indicate overweight, and 30 or higher means that a person is obese.

The researchers find the results of this study particularly concerning, given the current epidemic of obesity among adolescents and young adults.

There was no link between weight at age 18 and risk of developing ovarian cancer after menopause.

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