Researchers have found that being overweight in middle age and later adulthood linked to a greater risk of advanced prostate cancer.
Using data from 15 large studies combined together, the research team examined associations between body fat, height, and prostate cancer risk in 830,772 men, 51,734 of whom had been diagnosed with prostate cancer.
“This study shows that adopting and maintaining a healthy weight in middle to late adulthood can especially reduce the risk of advanced prostate cancer,” said study lead author Jeanine Genkinger from Columbia University in the US.
According to the researchers, prostate cancer is the second most common cause of cancer in men in the US. Fewer than one in three men with advanced prostate cancer live five years beyond diagnosis.
Before this study, only a few studies examined contributing factors to advanced prostate cancer.
There was an especially noticeable lack of research on the linkage between factors like weight in early adulthood, changes in weight during adulthood, and waist circumference, specifically with advanced prostate cancer risk, they said.
The current research took a life-course-based approach, examining survey data collected across respondents’ lifespans to determine whether and at what age during adulthood excess body fat increased risk for advanced prostate cancer.
The researchers found that a body mass index (BMI) elevated above a healthy weight during the middle to late adulthood–median age range from 50 to 64–was linked to the greatest risk for developing advanced prostate cancer.
A “healthy” weight is defined as a BMI between 21 and 25 kg/m2, they said.
The study found that greater waist circumference was linked with an increased risk of advanced prostate cancer and death.
According to the researchers, although other studies have linked higher BMI with increased prostate cancer, this is the first study to find a positive association with waist circumference.
“These study results show that risk for advanced prostate cancer can be decreased by maintaining a ‘healthy’ weight and adopting healthy eating and exercising are factors that can help maintain a healthy weight,” Genkinger concluded.