Overweight boys much more likely to suffer liver disease when older
Young men who are overweight or obese run a higher risk of developing severe liver disease or liver cancer in later life, according to new research.
A high Body Mass Index (BMI) is associated with an increased risk of severe liver disease and liver cancer in adults, while also increasing the risk for type two diabetes.
Researchers led by Dr Hannes Hagström, of the Centre for Digestive Diseases at the Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm, Sweden, set out to investigate how BMI in early adolescents impacted on liver problems later in life.
They used registered data from more than 1.2 million Swedish men enlisted for military conscription between 1969 and 1996.
The men were followed up from one year after conscription through until December 31, 2012, for the research published in the journal 'Gut'.
Results showed that there were 5,281 cases of severe liver disease, including 251 cases of liver cancer.
The researchers discovered that overweight men were almost 50pc more likely, and obese men more than twice as likely, to develop liver disease in later life than men of normal weight.
Overweight and obesity levels are increasing globally and around one billion people are now projected to be obese by 2030.
A previous study has shown that a high BMI in late adolescent males is associated with an increased risk of death in, or hospitalisation for, end-stage liver disease.
That's the case even when other factors are taken into account - such as alcohol consumption, smoking and use of narcotics - but the link between BMI and liver disease was not examined in great depth.