Published: 23-03-2017 15:59 | Updated: 23-03-2017 16:22

Overweight in young men associated with severe liver disease in later life

Young men who are overweight or obese could run a higher risk of developing severe liver disease or liver cancer, suggests research from Karolinska Institutet published in the scientific journal Gut.

It has been shown before that a high BMI is associated with an increased risk for future severe liver disease and liver cancer in adults. A high BMI also increases the risk for type 2 diabetes, which is, in turn, linked to a higher risk of severe liver disease. The risk seems to be present from an early age, according to a new observational study.

Researchers led by Dr Hannes Hagström at Karolinska Institutet’s Department of Medicine, Huddinge, investigated the impact of BMI in adolescence on liver problems later in life. They used register data from more than 1.2 million Swedish men enlisted for military conscription between 1969 and 1996. They also linked data on severe liver disease, liver cancer and type 2 diabetes during follow-up from population-based registers.

The researchers discovered that overweight men were nearly 50 percent more likely and obese men more than twice as likely to develop liver disease in later life than men of normal weight. Men with both obesity and type 2 diabetes were more than three times more likely to have liver problems when they were older compared with non-diabetic, normal weight men. Factors such as alcohol consumption and smoking were taken into account.

This news article is an edited version of a press release from BMJ/Gut.


'High BMI in late adolescence predicts future severe liver disease and hepatocellular carcinoma: a national, population-based cohort study in 1.2 million men'
Hannes Hagström, Per Tynelius, Finn Rasmussen
Gut, online 20 March 2017, doi:10.1136/gutjnl-2016-313622