Colorectal Polyp :: Effect of gender and obesity on colorectal polyp prevalence
Research shows that the prevalence of obesity is rising, causing an increase in heart disease and diabetes, among other conditions, but evidence has not yet been established linking obesity to precancerous lesions in the colon called polyps.
This study evaluated the effect of gender and obesity on the prevalence of colorectal polyps in a diverse population.
Body mass index (BMI) was calculated for 581 patients enrolled in the study and classified as normal (BMI 18-24.0), overweight (BMI 25-29.9) or obese (BMI greater than or equal to 30).
Fifty-two percent of patients were Hispanic, 26 percent Asian, 14.1 percent African American and 7.2 percent Caucasian. More than half of the patients (61%) were women, with the average age of the group (approximately 58 years) and mean BMI (approximately 27) the same for both men and women. During the screening, Dr. Fritz Francois and colleagues found polyps in 14.5 percent of patients, with 80 percent being advanced neoplasms, or large polyps. Overall, women had fewer polyps and fewer advanced neoplasms than men (12.4 vs. 17.7% and 5.7 vs. 17.5%, respectively).
However, for the 207 overweight and 111 obese women, the prevalence of polyps increased to nearly equal to that of men (13.0 vs. 14.6% and 18.6 vs. 18.0%, respectively). The number of advanced neoplasms doubled in this group of women and was comparable to that of men as well. After controlling for age and race, the likelihood of having a polyp of any size was significantly lower in normal weight women compared to overweight and obese women.
“Obesity puts people at risk for a number of different diseases and the results of this study show that obese women should add colon cancer to that list,” said Fritz Francois, M.D., of the New York University Medical Center in New York, N.Y. and senior author of the study. “Further research is needed to confirm these findings and to understand how obesity contributes to the formation of polyps.”