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Overweight Linked to Cancer Mortality in Asia-Pacific Region

Continuous association seen between BMI, all-cancer mortality in those with BMI of at least 18.5

WEDNESDAY, June 30 (HealthDay News) -- Overweight and obese individuals in groups across the Asia-Pacific region have a higher risk of death from cancer than normal-weight individuals in the region, according to research published online June 30 in The Lancet Oncology.

Christine L. Parr, Ph.D., of the University of Oslo in Norway, and colleagues analyzed data from 424,519 participants in 39 cohorts from Asia, Australia, and New Zealand.

The researchers found that the hazard ratios for cancer sites with higher mortality risk in obese participants compared to normal-weight participants were 1.21 for all-cause cancer, excluding lung and upper aerodigestive tract; 4.21 for cervix; 2.62 for ovary; 1.68 for rectum; 1.66 for leukemia; 1.63 for breast cancer in older women; 1.50 for colon; and 1.45 for prostate. For individuals with a body mass index of 18.5 kg/m² or higher, each five-unit increase in BMI was associated with 9 percent higher risk for all cancers -- except those of the lung and upper aerodigestive tract.

"Many countries of the Asia-Pacific region show a steep increase in overweight and obese people in their populations, mainly as a result of a shift from traditional to more western lifestyles, characterized by excess energy consumption, reduced physical activity, and more affluent standards of living. Effective strategies to prevent the increasing proportions of overweight and obese people in Asian populations need to be developed and assessed to reduce the burden of cancer that can be expected if the obesity epidemic continues," the authors conclude.

The study was partly funded by Pfizer.

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