Lean teens have lower risk of future brain tumors

By Tom Nordlie • Published: February 24th, 2010
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Being slim has plenty of advantages. You feel better, for one, and you probably spend a little less money on groceries.

Now it seems there’s another benefit, at least for teenagers… you’ll have less risk of developing certain types of brain cancer later in life.

That’s according to a study published in the journal Cancer Research.

The cancers in question are called gliomas [glee-OH-muhs]. They’re serious, incurable tumors that affect about one out of every ten-thousand Americans.

In the study, researchers interviewed about two-hundred-seventy thousand people ages fifty to seventy-one.

Participants answered questions about their health histories, weight and physical activity at various times in their lives.

The results showed that those who were obese at age eighteen had a risk of gliomas nearly four times higher than those who were normal weight at that time.

Also, people who were physically active between ages fifteen and eighteen were about one-third less likely to develop gliomas, compared with those who were inactive during those years.

However, obesity and physical activity after age eighteen were unrelated to glioma risk.

The researchers speculated that nutrition during childhood might account for their findings.

Perhaps gliomas are connected to a biochemical called insulin-like growth factor, which contributes to weight.

Or perhaps something else is responsible.

The scientists concluded that more research is needed to determine what’s happening.

Regardless, they concluded that a physically active lifestyle during childhood and adolescence would cut the risk of gliomas.

So this study shows exercise has benefits that reach beyond the here and now.

It can pay off years later.