Obese and overweight children at increased cancer risk


The longer the condition of overweight and obesity lasts, the greater the risk of getting cancer. This is according to a study conducted by a group of Norwegian scientists, just published in the International Journal of Epidemiology. (1) A spotlight shone on the younger generation, subjected to junk food and its most aggressivemarketing.

Obesity and cancer

The correlation between obesity, overweight and cancer prevalence-as we have already seen-is well established in the scientific literature. The Norwegian study shows that a decisive factor in exposure to health risks is in the duration of excessive weight accumulation.

Tone Bjørge of the University of Bergen (Norway) and colleagues studied this correlation in Austria, Norway and Sweden. By analysis of clinical andBMI (Body Mass Index) data of more than 221,000 people, recorded at least twice between 1972 and 2014.

13 obesity-related cancers

Obesity and overweight are related to an increased risk of developing at least 13 forms of cancer, including breast, colorectal, ovarian, endometrial, and kidney cancer.

In the 18 years that the 221,000 people researched were followed, the ominous prediction was confirmed. Indeed, it has been found that an overweight condition overt before the age of 40 increases the likelihood of developing cancer by 16 percent in men and 15 percent in women. In females, a 70% peak was reached in the endometrium. For males, the higher risk of developing kidney (58 percent) and colon (29 percent) cancers stands out.

An avoidable catastrophe

The scenario is dramatic in light of new evidence and the increasing prevalence of obesity. In the general population, globally, as in the child population where in Italy alone a recent Istat report estimated 1 in 4 children to be at risk. Mass distraction about the invasion of unbalanced and obesogenic junk food into the diets of younger people promises a future of cancer-ridden adults.

In Italy-according to the latest data from the World Health Organization (WHO)-21 percent of boys and 14 percent of girls are already in a condition of overt obesity. Overweight children, 42% of boys and 38% of girls, may also incur the same condition. A chilling statistic that places the Bel Paese at the top in Europe for childhood obesity rates. And one that demands a decisive reversal of course from policy.


On the cover, elaboration on Bansky’s ‘Family target’ (2003, spray on board)


(1) Tone Bjørge, Christel Häggström, Sara Ghaderi, Gabriele Nagel, Jonas Manjer, Steinar Tretli, Hanno Ulmer, Sophia Harlid, Ann H Rosendahl, Alois Lang, Pär Stattin, Tanja Stocks, Anders Engeland, BMI and weight changes and risk of obesity-related cancers: a pooled European cohort study, International Journal of Epidemiology, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/ije/dyz188

Marta Strinati

Professional journalist since January 1995, he has worked for newspapers (Il Messaggero, Paese Sera, La Stampa) and periodicals (NumeroUno, Il Salvagente). She is the author of journalistic surveys on food, she has published the book "Reading labels to know what we eat".