Obesity during childhood is associated with higher cancer mortality rate during adulthood: the i3C Consortium

Joel Nuotio, Tomi T. Laitinen, Alan R Sinaiko, Jessica G. Woo, Elaine M. Urbina, David Jacobs, Julia Steinberger, Ronald J. Prineas, Matthew A. Sabin, David P. Burgner, Heikki Minn, Trudy L. Burns, Lydia A. Bazzano, Alison J. Venn, Jorma S.A. Viikari, Nina Hutri-Kähönen, Stephen R. Daniels, Olli T. Raitakari, Costan G. Magnussen, Markus JuonalaTerence Dwyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background: In high-income countries, cancer is the leading cause of death among middle-aged adults. Prospective data on the effects of childhood risk exposures on subsequent cancer mortality are scarce. Methods: We examined whether childhood body mass index (BMI), blood pressure, glucose and lipid levels were associated with adult cancer mortality, using data from 21,012 children enrolled aged 3–19 years in seven prospective cohort studies from the U.S., Australia, and Finland that have followed participants from childhood into adulthood. Cancer mortality (cancer as a primary or secondary cause of death) was captured using registries. Results: 354 cancer deaths occurred over the follow-up. In age-, sex, and cohort-adjusted analyses, childhood BMI (Hazard ratio [HR], 1.13; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.03–1.24 per 1-SD increase) and childhood glucose (HR 1.22; 95%CI 1.01–1.47 per 1-SD increase), were associated with subsequent cancer mortality. In a multivariable analysis adjusted for age, sex, cohort, and childhood measures of fasting glucose, total cholesterol, triglycerides, and systolic blood pressure, childhood BMI remained as an independent predictor of subsequent cancer mortality (HR, 1.24; 95%CI, 1.03–1.49). The association of childhood BMI and subsequent cancer mortality persisted after adjustment for adulthood BMI (HR for childhood BMI, 1.35; 95%CI 1.12–1.63). Conclusions: Higher childhood BMI was independently associated with increased overall cancer mortality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)393-399
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Obesity
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH; Grant No.: R01 HL121230). Harmonization and other data work before obtaining NIH funding were supported by the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council Project (Grant Nos.: APP1098369, APP211316), the Academy of Finland (Grant No.: 126925, 121584, 124282, 129378, 117787, and 41071), the Social Insurance Institution of Finland; Kuopio, Tampere, and Turku University Hospital Medical Funds, Juho Vainio Foundation, Paavo Nurmi Foundation, Finnish Foundation of Cardiovascular Research, Finnish Cultural Foundation, Sigrid Juselius Foundation, and Yrjö Jahnsson Foundation. The funders of this study had no role in the design and conduct of the study. Open Access funding provided by University of Turku (UTU) including Turku University Central Hospital.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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