Cancer Causes & Control

, Volume 26, Issue 2, pp 247–256 | Cite as

Obesity at adolescence and gastric cancer risk

  • Minkyo Song
  • Ji-Yeob Choi
  • Jae Jeong Yang
  • Hyuna Sung
  • Yunhee Lee
  • Hwi-Won Lee
  • Seong-Ho Kong
  • Hyuk-Joon Lee
  • Hyung-Ho Kim
  • Sang Gyun Kim
  • Han-Kwang Yang
  • Daehee KangEmail author
Original Paper


Background and objective

During the last few decades, prevalence of obesity has risen rapidly worldwide, markedly in children and adolescents. Epidemiologic studies have associated obesity to several cancer types, yet little is known for the effect of early life exposure to obesity on cancer risk in later life, especially in gastric cancer. Thus, the present study aimed to investigate the association of body mass index (BMI) of adolescence and the risk of gastric cancer.


A multicenter case–control study was conducted between 2010 and 2014 in Korea with 1,492 incident gastric cancer cases and 1,492 controls matched by age and sex. The BMI at age 18 was calculated by using weight and height from questionnaire. The association with the risk of gastric cancer was evaluated using odds ratios by logistic regression model adjusted for potential confounding factors.


Compared with BMI 21.75 kg/m2, higher BMI at age 18 was associated with higher risk of gastric cancer showing a nonlinear, threshold effect. Statistically significant odds ratio was observed in men with BMI higher than 25.3 kg/m2 (OR 1.13, 95 % CI 1.01–1.27) and in women with BMI 25.3 kg/m2 and above (OR 1.25, 95 % CI 1.01–1.55).


Similar to some other cancer types, overweight or obese in adolescence was found to be associated with the increased risk of gastric cancer. The results imply for stratified approach of tactics in prevention of gastric cancer in different population.


Gastric cancer Epidemiology Risk Obesity Body mass index Adolescence 



Body mass index


Confidence interval


Health Examinees Study


Insulin-like growth factor


Korean Genome and Epidemiology Study


National Health Insurance Corporation


Odds ratio


Seoul Gastric Cancer Study


Standard deviation


World Health Organization



This research was supported by BRL (Basic Research Laboratory) program through the National Research Foundation of Korea funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (2012-0000347) and by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) A3 Foresight program.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Minkyo Song
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Ji-Yeob Choi
    • 2
    • 4
  • Jae Jeong Yang
    • 1
    • 3
  • Hyuna Sung
    • 5
  • Yunhee Lee
    • 1
    • 2
  • Hwi-Won Lee
    • 1
    • 2
  • Seong-Ho Kong
    • 4
    • 6
  • Hyuk-Joon Lee
    • 4
    • 6
  • Hyung-Ho Kim
    • 7
  • Sang Gyun Kim
    • 8
  • Han-Kwang Yang
    • 4
    • 6
  • Daehee Kang
    • 2
    • 4
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Preventive MedicineSeoul National University College of MedicineSeoulRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.Department of Biomedical SciencesSeoul National University College of MedicineSeoulRepublic of Korea
  3. 3.Institute of Environmental MedicineSeoul National University Medical Research CenterSeoulRepublic of Korea
  4. 4.Cancer Research InstituteSeoul National University College of MedicineSeoulRepublic of Korea
  5. 5.Division of Cancer Epidemiology and GeneticsNational Cancer InstituteRockvilleUSA
  6. 6.Department of SurgerySeoul National University College of MedicineSeoulRepublic of Korea
  7. 7.Department of SurgerySeoul National University Bundang HospitalSeongnamRepublic of Korea
  8. 8.Department of Internal Medicine and Liver Research InstituteSeoul National University College of MedicineSeoulRepublic of Korea

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