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Obesity in Older Male Teens Ups Risk for Liver Disease Later

Researchers find odds increase as weight goes up

FRIDAY, June 17, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Older teen boys who are overweight or obese could be at increased risk for severe liver disease later in life, according to a study published online June 16 in the Journal of Hepatology.

The research included 44,248 Swedish males who entered military service in their late teens between 1969 and 1970. The investigators reviewed over 40 years of their health information. Three hundred ninety-three of the participants were diagnosed with severe liver disease.

The researchers found that men who were overweight or obese in their late teens were 64 percent more likely to develop severe liver disease compared with men who had a low normal weight in their late teens. That worked out to a 5 percent increased risk for every one point increase in body mass index.

“It is difficult to identify individuals in the general population who have an increased risk for development of cirrhosis and severe liver disease later in life,” lead investigator Hannes Hagström, M.D., Ph.D., of the Center for Digestive Diseases at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, said in a journal news release. But, he added, it’s important to learn how to predict liver disease so that researchers can develop effective prevention programs. And one factor that has been linked to the worldwide increase in liver diseases is the increasing prevalence of overweight and obesity.

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