Obesity in Adolescence Associated with Greater Risk of Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma

Obesity carries increased risk for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and lymphomas.

Analysis suggests that there is an association between the height and weight of children during adolescence and the risk of developing Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) later in life.

The study was performed by a research team at Sheba Medical Center in Israel and was published in the American Cancer Society’s peer-reviewed journal Cancer. Researchers looked at 2,352,988 teens between 1967 and 2011 between the ages of 16 and 19-years-old.

The results of the study showed a 25% greater risk of NHL among adolescents who were obese and overweight.

"Obesity and overweight during adolescence are risk factors for future Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma," said lead researcher Merav Leiba, MD. "It is important to be aware that overweight and obesity are not risk factors only for diabetes and cardiovascular disease but also for lymphomas."

The results also showed that in comparison with mid-range height, those with a shorter stature had a 25% reduced risk of developing NHL. Those who were in the tall category had a 27% increased risk of future NHL.

Researchers concluded that excess height was responsible for 6% of all NHL cases and weight was responsible for 3%.

Excess nutrition and height in adolescence could have an impact on inflammatory molecules as well as growth factors that have the potential to support NHL development. However, further studies are needed in order to explore this.