Diet and Weight - Are There Lymphoma Risks?

Non Hodgkin lymphoma risks increase with obesity in young adulthood

(RxWiki News) What you eat today could impact your health 10 years from now. That's what's becoming increasingly clear in medical research, and a new study confirms this.

There appears to be a link between diet and weight during young adulthood and a person's risk for developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). That's what a recent Harvard study revealed.

"Eat your greens throughout your life."

Kimberly Bertrand, Sc.D., research fellow in the department of epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health, and colleagues sought to confirm if or how obesity, dietary fats and consumption of fruits and vegetables was associated with NHL risks.

Previous research had suggested a link between trans fats and increased NHL risks, while a diet rich in vegetables appeared to lower those risks.

Researchers looked at the survey answers of 47,541 men who were followed for 22 years as part of the Health Professionals’ Follow-Up Study and 91,227 women followed for 28 years in the Nurses’ Health Study.

NHL was diagnosed in 966 women through the year 2008 and in 566 men through 2006.

Researchers found that men who reported being obese in early adulthood - ages 18-21 - had a 64 percent greater risk of NHL later in life, as compared to lean men. Obesity in women during these years resulted in a 19 percent increased risk. 

A man's current BMI (body mass index) was associated with  NHL risks, but this was not the case for women.

Dietary fats (type and amount) weren't associated with NHL risks. Yet, women who had at least four servings of vegetables a day had a 16 percent lower risk than women who ate two servings a day. 

Bertrand says these findings suggest that weight and diet may be controllable risk factors for NHL.

She plans to investigate obesity and dietary factors - including red meat - in relation to common types of NHL. Her team will also be looking at biomarkers (indicators of disease) in fatty acids.

This research was presented at the 10th American Association of Cancer Research (AACR) International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research.

Study findings are considered preliminary before they are published in a peer-reviewed journal.

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Review Date: 
October 25, 2011