Obese and overweight people are more likely to develop colon polyps, a possible precursor to cancer, than slimmer people, according to an international study.
Previous studies have made the connection between obesity and colon cancer, a link recognized by the US National Cancer Institute. But the current study, which appeared in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, is the first to point to a higher risk of colon polyps - also known as adenomas - in heavy people.
"Because there is a known association between obesity and cancer, there is a logical extension to expect a connection between obesity and the step before cancer, which is adenoma," said Hutan Ashrafian from Imperial College, London, who co-authored the study.
Ashrafian and his colleagues analyzed data from 23 studies involving more than 100,000 people across the United States, Asia and Europe, looking at the relationship between polyps and body mass index, or BMI, a measure of weight relative to height.
All the studies followed World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines that define people with a BMI over 25 as overweight and above 30 as obese.
In most studies, polyps were identified during colonoscopy procedures while two large studies used self-reported questionnaires.
Overall, researchers found that 22 percent of overweight and obese people had colon polyps, compared to 19 percent in people of normal weight. The polyp risk grew with increasing BMI.
"The findings suggest that obesity may be having an effect (on cancer development) much earlier than we thought," said Ashrafian, who with his fellow authors recommended timely colon cancer screening for overweight and obese people.
The findings couldn't say whether obesity causes polyps by itself, but if it does, that may be bad news for a world where obesity is on the rise.
According to the World Health Organization, about 500 million people worldwide are obese. Colon cancer killed more than half a million people worldwide in 2008, WHO figures show. SOURCE: http://bit.ly/QgLHRO
The outbreak is by far the largest in the four-year history of the disease, with 729 deaths so far, including more than 60 healthcare workers, and 1,323 cases overall
Security forces in Liberia were ordered to enforce the action plan, which includes placing all non-essential government workers on 30-day compulsory leave.
Scientists analysed blood samples from 1,241 malaria patients in 10 countries across Asia and Africa and found resistance to the world's most effective antimalarial drug.
The death of Sheik Umar Khan, who was credited with treating more than 100 patients, follows those of dozens of local health workers and the infection of two American medics in neighbouring Liberia
The hospital will be shut for a week and all staff monitored to ensure the virus has not spread
The new measures announced by the government came as Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone struggle to contain the worst outbreak yet of the virus.
Angry crowds gathered outside the country's main Ebola hospital in Kenema where dozens are receiving treatment for the virus, and threatened to burn it down and remove the patients.
Asia’s largest copper mine in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh is causing serious damage to the environment.
The victim has been identified as Patrick Sawyer, a 40-year-old Liberian who arrived in Lagos on Sunday.
An MSF report found that malaria cases in Bossangoa had more than tripled to 6,507 in May with almost two-thirds of those children under the age of five.
If confirmed, the case would be the first on record of one of the world's deadliest diseases in Nigeria, Africa's biggest economy and, with 170 million people, its most populous country.
Researchers said the findings challenge the universal endorsement of paracetamol as the first choice painkiller for lower back pain.
The 39-year-old Sheik Umar Khan, hailed as a "national hero" by the health ministry, was leading the fight to control an outbreak that has killed 206 people in the West African country
Shanghai food watchdog said it sealed more than 1,000 tonnes of suspected meat products from OSI in China, and a further 100 tonnes of products from a range of its customers.
Children in Syria are at greatest risk as routine immunisation has been disrupted and many health centres are severely damaged after more than three years of conflict
151 people who came into direct contact with the victim were also placed in quarantine.