Weight struggles among teens and younger adults are increasing cancer risks among individuals far younger than the previous average. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (C.D.C.) reported that the number of overweight and obese Americans has reached record heights. This is having a direct impact on the risk of cancers at an earlier age.
According to the C.D.C.’s own data, 71 percent of Americans are either overweight or obese. Comparatively, the C.D.C.’s data from 1988 through 1994 showed that a notably lower 56 percent of Americans had been overweight or obese at that time. This shows a drastic increase in the number of Americans who are carrying too much weight for their ideal health.
Obesity is a disease that considerably increases the risk of many other chronic and life-threatening health conditions. While it is most common to talk about the association between obesity and heart disease, diabetes and stroke, many people don’t realize that the excess weight also places them at a heightened risk of some forms of cancer. As obesity rates rise in the country, so are cancer rates. Moreover, the younger people are when they are obese, the younger they are when their cancer risk rises.
As a result, a growing number of younger people are being diagnosed with cancers typically associated with the elderly. This, according to the results of a meta-analysis recently published in the Lancet Public Health journal.
The researchers used data from 1995 through 2014 and examined the rates of 30 different forms of cancer. Among those forms, 12 have been directly linked with an increased risk due to the presence of obesity. Those cancers are esophageal, colon/rectal, gallbladder, kidney, stomach, pancreatic, liver/bile duct, thyroid, breast, uterine, ovarian, and plasma cells (multiple myeloma).
Furthermore, the researchers conducting the meta-analysis also determined that the obesity related cancer rate has increased faster among Americans within the 25-year-old to 49 year old age bracket than they have among those in the 50 year old to 84 year old age bracket. This is striking because it is that latter age group that has traditionally been associated most frequently with those forms of cancer.
For instance, the kidney cancer rate increase was under 2 percent among Americans aged 55 years old to 84 years old. However, that same growth rate was over 5 percent among their younger counterparts aged 25 years old to 39 years old.