This month as we focus on men’s health, it is important to remember that healthy habits start early. With obesity rates rising steadily among American children, teaching our adolescent and teenage boys the value of a wholesome diet and an active lifestyle is now more important than ever, especially in light of a new report.
Researchers from the United States and Sweden recently completed an analysis of more than 240,000 boys between the ages of 16 and 20 to determine whether or not being heavier at a young age affected bowel health later in life. As it turns out, the more weight the boys carried, the higher their risk of developing bowel cancer as well as widespread inflammation.
Over a period of more than three decades, researchers monitored the boys’ height and weight as well as inflammation levels in the body and found that those who were “very overweight” or obese in young adulthood—with a BMI ranging from 27.5 to over 30—doubled their risk of developing bowel cancer in adulthood in their 50s. In addition, those with a high inflammation rate were 65% more likely to develop bowel cancer, spotlighting the relationship between chronic inflammation and disease.
Bowel cancer, also known as colorectal cancer, is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States and the third most common cancer in men and in women.i Report authors point out the importance of advocating a healthy diet and lifestyle early on to promote bowel health and wellness later in life.