Danish researchers have discovered that overweight girls have a greater risk of developing ovarian cancer later in life as adults, compared to girls with average weights.
Taking the height and weight measurements of over 155,000 schoolgirls aged 7-13 into consideration, researchers from the Institute of Preventive Medicine in Bispebjerg and Frederiksberg Hospitals could monitor which girls were diagnosed with ovarian cancer later in life using the Danish cancer registry.
The results found that an overweight girl aged 7 – one who weighed 4 kilos more than average – had a 53 percent greater risk of developing ovarian cancer compared to a similarly-aged and average weighing girl.
“The prevalence of overweight girls in this study, however, was considerably lower than is the case among children today,” Julie Aarestrup, a PhD student at the Institute of Preventive Medicine and one of the authors of the project, told Videnskab.
“If the girls in our study had been as overweight as girls are today, 22 percent of all ovarian cancer instances would be down to being overweight in childhood.”
Height and weight
The research also revealed that the height of the children had an impact. For instance, 7-year-olds who were 5.2 cm taller than average had an 18 percent greater chance of developing the illness later in life.
Ovarian cancer is the fifth most common form of cancer among women in Denmark. Over 700 women are diagnosed annually. The results of the study were recently published in the noted International Journal of Obesity.
Obesity is considered one of the most important and recognised risk factors for ovarian cancer. It is estimated that 34 percent of all instances of ovarian cancer globally are down to being overweight as an adult.