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Glioma Risk Associated With Youth Obesity and Inactivity

Study finds early-life energy balance may play a role in cancer risk in later life

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 7 (HealthDay News) -- The risk of glioma is greater among those who are tall and those who were inactive or obese in adolescence, suggesting a link between the cancer and early-life energy balance, according to a study published online Oct. 6 in Cancer Research.

Steven C. Moore, Ph.D., of the National Cancer Institute in Rockville, Md., and colleagues analyzed data from two questionnaires -- one of 499,437 respondents, which provided information on height, weight and potential confounders, and one of 305,681 respondents providing follow-up information on current and past levels of physical activity.

The participants were followed for eight years, during which time 480 and 257 cases of glioma were discovered among respondents to the baseline questionnaire and to the second questionnaire, respectively. The researchers found the risk of glioma was twice as high among those who were 1.9 m tall or taller, compared to those less than 1.6 m tall. Those with a body mass index of 30 to 34.9 at the age of 18 years were four times more likely than their normal weight counterparts to develop glioma as adults, and physical activity at age 15 to 18 years was associated with lower risk, the investigators discovered.

"One implication is that biological pathways linking energy balance and cancer risk, particularly levels of insulin-like growth factors and insulin during childhood, should be more closely investigated as important in glioma etiology," the authors write. "Our results provide preliminary support for the importance of weight maintenance and a physically active lifestyle during childhood and adolescence for reducing glioma risk."

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