Body mass index at early adulthood, subsequent weight change and cancer incidence and mortality

Xuesong Han, June Stevens, Kimberly P. Truesdale, Patrick T. Bradshaw, Anna Kucharska-Newton, Anna E. Prizment, Elizabeth A. Platz, Corinne E. Joshu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


Obesity later in adulthood is associated with increased risks of many cancers. However, the effect of body fatness in early adulthood, and change in weight from early to later adulthood on cancer risk later in life is less clear. We used data from 13,901 people aged 45-64 in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities cohort who at baseline (1987-1989) self-reported their weight at the age of 25 and had weight and height measured. Incident cancers were identified through 2006 and cancer deaths were ascertained through 2009. Multivariable Cox proportional hazard models were used to relate body mass index (BMI) at age 25 and percent weight change from age 25 to baseline to cancer incidence and mortality. After adjusting for weight change from age 25 until baseline, a 5 kg/m2 increment in BMI at age 25 was associated with a greater risk of incidence of all cancers in women [hazard ratio (95% confidence interval): 1.10 (1.02-1.20)], but not in men. Associations with incident endometrial cancer were strong [1.83 (1.47-2.26)]. After adjusting for BMI at age 25, a 5% increment in weight from age 25 to baseline was associated with a greater risk of incident postmenopausal breast cancer [1.05 (1.02-1.07)] and endometrial cancer [1.09 (1.04-1.14)] in women and incident colorectal cancer [1.05 (1.00-1.10)] in men. Excess weight during young adulthood and weight gain from young to older adulthood may be independently associated with subsequent should be avoided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2900-2909
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 15 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 UI.


  • Body mass index
  • Cancer risk
  • Early adulthood
  • Obesity
  • Weight gain


Dive into the research topics of 'Body mass index at early adulthood, subsequent weight change and cancer incidence and mortality'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this