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Weight Loss Linked to Decreased Risk for Colon, Rectal Polyps

what’s new Overweight or obese people who lose more than 5 pounds over five years during adulthood have as much as a 46 percent reduced risk for developing precancerous colon polyps — benign growths in the colon or rectum that can lead to colorectal cancer, according to study findings published February 1 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Research Details Researchers assessed the link between weight change and colon and rectal polyps in 18,588 men and women participating in the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian Cancer Screening trial from 1993 to 2001. Study participants included people who had self-reported their weight at three time periods over the course of their lives. The case group consisted of 1,053 adults who developed polyps three to five years into the trial, and controls those who did not. Compared with participants whose weight remained stable, those who lost weight during early to late adulthood had a significantly reduced risk for developing polyps, especially if they were initially overweight (had a BMI of more than 25). On the other hand, people who gained weight over the study had a 1.3 times greater risk for developing polyps. The association appeared to be stronger in men compared with women.

Why This Matters For the first time, researchers have shown that avoiding weight gain during adulthood reduces the likelihood for developing precancerous growths that can lead to colorectal cancer. Benefits appear to be directly related to being overweight or obese.

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