Teens and colon cancer
Teenagers who were overweight at 17 were at significantly increased risk for developing colon cancer later in adulthood, and those who were obese were at increased risk for rectal cancer as well, according to a new report. The study looked at nearly 2 million young Jewish Israelis who were weighed between 1967 and 2002, before induction to the Israeli army. Their weights were later checked against Israel’s national cancer registry. Obesity is a known risk factor for colon cancer, but earlier studies have reported mixed results about whether being overweight during adolescence confers a risk. But while many of the earlier studies relied on recalled or self-reported body weight, the new study used actual weight measurements during health exams, said Dr. Gilad Twig, one of the study’s authors and a physician with the Israel Defense Forces. The analysis, published in the journal Cancer, included just over 1 million males and 707,212 females. Over a median followup of 23 years, the investigators identified 1,977 cases of colon and rectal cancer among the men, and 990 cases among the women. “Even if you are perfectly healthy at 17, but you are overweight or obese, we saw pretty much a 50 per cent increased risk of cancer,” Twig said. “This should be a red flag for fighting adolescent obesity.”
The benefits of owning a dog
Just how good is dog walking for you? Older dog owners who walked their dogs at least once a day got 20 per cent more physical activity than people without dogs, a British study found, and spent 30 fewer minutes a day being sedentary, on average. Regular exercise has well-known benefits for health and longevity. For the study, published in The Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, researchers used data from 3,123 men and women, median age around 70, living in Norfolk, who wore an activity monitor for seven days. The data recorded was cross-checked against meteorological information. All participants tended to be less active on short winter days when it was cold and wet. But regular dog walkers experienced less of a dip in physical activity and got more exercise on bad weather days than those who were not dog owners did on the warmest days of the year. “There might be two-way causality here, where people who want to be physically active get dogs,” said Andy Jones, a professor of public health at the University of East Anglia and the study’s senior author. “But qualitative studies have shown that having a dog gives you incentive to get out, when the easier option is to stay indoors.”
People who walked their dogs at least once a day got 20 per cent more exercise than those without dogs.