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Overweight teens 'more likely to get liver cancer'

By Ella Pickover

Men who are overweight in their late teens have a higher risk of developing liver cancer in later life, a new study suggests.

They are also more likely to develop other severe liver diseases, according to research published in the journal Gut.

Experts examined data from more than 1.2 million Swedish men enlisted for conscription between 1969 and 1996.

The data was then linked with other health registers to assess whether these men went on to develop severe liver disease.

The researchers then used statistical analysis to see if having a high body mass index aged 17 to 19 - when the men signed up to military service - was linked to an increase risk of disease.

Overall, there were 5,281 cases of severe liver disease, including 251 cases of liver cancer during the follow up period - one year after conscription until December 31, 2012.

The researchers, led by Dr Hannes Hagstrom, of the Centre for Digestive Diseases at the Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden, discovered that overweight men were nearly 50% more likely and obese men more than twice as likely to develop liver disease in later life than men of normal weight.

Men who developed type 2 diabetes during the follow up period also had a higher risk, regardless of how much they weighed when they signed up to military conscription.

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