Survivors of Pediatric Cancer May Have Increased Risk of Obesity, Study Finds

The study, published in Cancer, found a 14% higher rate of obesity among childhood cancer survivors in their surveyed population, compared to the federal numbers.

Childhood cancer survivors - especially those whose treatment included brain irradiation or chemotherapy with glucocorticoids - are 14% more likely to be obese than their healthy peers. The St. Jude Children's Research Hospital study appears today in the journal Cancer.

Of the 1996 childhood cancer survivors in this study, 36.2% had a body mass index (BMI) of 30 kilograms per meters squared or more, which qualifies as obese. That was 14% greater than the expected prevalence based on federal health survey data of a comparison group of US residents. Among the strongest predictor of obesity in survivors was childhood obesity, which is also a strong predictor of adult obesity in the general public. Survivors who were obese when their pediatric cancer was discovered were almost 5 times more likely than other survivors to be obese when their BMI was calculated for this study.

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