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Maternal Obesity May Up CRC Risk in Adult Offspring

Authors say this association may be contributing to increasing incidence rates of colorectal cancer in younger adults

TUESDAY, Aug. 24, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Maternal obesity and certain patterns of pregnancy weight gain are associated with an increased risk for colorectal cancer (CRC) in adult offspring, according to a study published online Aug. 23 in Gut.

Caitlin C. Murphy, from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, and colleagues used data from the Child Health and Development Studies (enrollment, 1959 to 1966; 18,751 live births among 14,507 mothers) to review mothers’ medical records six months prior to pregnancy through delivery. CRC diagnoses in adult offspring were determined through linkage with the California Cancer Registry.

The researchers found that 68 offspring were diagnosed with CRC during 738,048 person-years of follow-up, with nearly half of the diagnoses (48.5 percent) occurring before age 50 years. There was an association observed between maternal obesity (≥30 kg/m2) and an increased risk for CRC in offspring (adjusted hazard ratio, 2.51; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.05 to 6.02). The association was altered by total weight gain versus the rate of early weight gain, with a greater risk associated with either high total weight gain or a higher rate of early weight gain. There was also a higher CRC risk seen with birth weight of 4,000 g or more (adjusted hazard ratio, 1.95; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.8 to 4.38).

“Given increasing population prevalence of maternal obesity and pregnancy weight gain, the burden of CRC is likely to continue increasing in the future,” the authors write.

Two authors disclosed financial ties to the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries.

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