Both individuals with metabolically healthy and unhealthy obesity are at higher risk of developing obesity-related cancer.

A new study on obesity-related cancers was presented at the European Obesity Conference in Dublin, Ireland. The research, conducted by Dr. Ming Sun and his colleagues at Lund University in Malmö, Sweden, found that both metabolically healthy and unhealthy forms of obesity were associated with an increased risk of various obesity-related cancers. However, the associations were stronger in metabolically unhealthy obesity. The study investigated the association between body mass index (BMI) and metabolic health with obesity-related cancer risk in 797,193 Europeans, using a metabolic score consisting of blood pressure, plasma glucose, and triglycerides to define metabolically healthy and unhealthy states.

The participants were classified into six categories: metabolic unhealthy obesity, metabolic healthy obese, metabolic unhealthy overweight, metabolic healthy overweight, metabolic unhealthy normal weight, and metabolic healthy normal weight. The study found that metabolically unhealthy obesity was associated with an increased relative risk of various cancers, including colon, rectal, pancreatic, endometrial, liver, and gallbladder cancers. The highest risk estimates were observed for endometrial cancer.

In women with metabolically unhealthy obesity, the risk of colon cancer was 2.5 times increased, and the risk of endometrial cancer was three times higher. In metabolically healthy obese women, the risk of endometrial cancer increased 2.4 times, and the risk of kidney cancer increased 80%. In men with metabolically unhealthy obesity, there was a 2.6-fold increased risk of kidney cancer, an 85% increased risk of colon cancer, and a 32% increased risk of pancreatic and rectal cancer. Metabolically healthy obese men had a 67% increased risk of kidney cancer and a 42% increased risk of colon cancer.

The authors suggest that targeting the coexistence of metabolic problems and obesity, particularly obesity-related cancers in men, could prevent a significant number of cancer cases. The study highlights the importance of assessing obesity-related cancer risk based on the metabolic obesity phenotypic type. The findings suggest that both obesity and metabolic status are useful targets for the prevention of obesity-related cancers.

The study was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute and has important public health implications. The material was reviewed by Science X’s editorial processes and policies to ensure the article’s authenticity.

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