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April 20, 2021 01:22pm
By Aislinn Antrim, Associate Editor
Insulin levels in the mother's body during fetal development or possible changes to the mother's DNA expression that are passed to her offspring may be possible causes to this correlation.
A new studying using Pennsylvania birth records has found a correlation between children born to pre-pregnancy body-mass index (BMI) and the likelihood of developing childhood cancer, even after correcting for known risk factors, such as newborn size and maternal age.
The study, published in the
, included the data gathered from approximately 2 million birth records and 3000 cancer registry records filled in the state of Pennsylvania between 2003 and 2016. Investigators found that children born to severely obese mothers, or mothers with a BMI above 40, had a 57% higher risk of developing leukemia before age 5. Weight and height also were individually associated with increased leukemia risk.
American Journal of Epidemiology
"Right now, we don't know of many avoidable risk factors for childhood cancer," said lead author Shaina Stacy, PhD, postdoctoral scholar in the Pitt Public Health Department of Epidemiology and UPMC Hillman Cancer Center. "My hope is that this study can be, in a way, empowering and also motivating for weight loss."
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