Obesity in male adolescents linked to cirrhosis risk

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Older teen adolescents who are overweight are at an increased risk of developing liver cirrhosis later in life.
Older teen adolescents who are overweight are at an increased risk of developing liver cirrhosis later in life.

HealthDay News — Older teen boys who are overweight or obese could be at increased risk for severe liver disease later in life, according to a study published online June 16 in the Journal of Hepatology.

The research included 44,248 Swedish males who entered military service in their late teens between 1969 and 1970. The investigators reviewed over 40 years of their health information. Three hundred ninety-three of the participants were diagnosed with severe liver disease.

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The researchers found that men who were overweight or obese in their late teens were 64% more likely to develop severe liver disease compared with men who had a low normal weight in their late teens. That worked out to a 5% increased risk for every one point increase in body mass index.

"It is difficult to identify individuals in the general population who have an increased risk for development of cirrhosis and severe liver disease later in life," lead investigator Hannes Hagström, MD, PhD, of the Center for Digestive Diseases at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, said in a journal news release. But, he added, it's important to learn how to predict liver disease so that researchers can develop effective prevention programs. And one factor that has been linked to the worldwide increase in liver diseases is the increasing prevalence of overweight and obesity.

References

  1. Hagstrom H, Stal P, Hultcrantz R, et al. Overweight in late adolescence predicts development of severe liver disease later in life: A 39 years follow-up study. J Hepatol. 2016; doi: 10.1016/j.jhep.2016.03.019
  2. Ratziu V, Marchesini G. When the journary from obesity to cirrhosis takes an early start. J Hepatol. 2016; doi: 10.1016/j.jhep.2016.05.021
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