Teen obesity has been linked with many health problems later in life, and a large Israeli study suggests increased risk for deadly pancreatic cancer is one of them.

Researchers followed nearly 2 million men and women for more than 20 years. Compared to participants with normal weight as teens, men who were obese as adolescents had more than three times the risk of pancreatic cancer in adulthood, and obese teen girls had more than four times the risk.

While obesity has long been considered a risk factor for pancreatic cancer, the strength of this association and the underlying causes for the connection are less clear. The current study doesn’t prove obesity causes these tumors, or that weight early in life impacts the development of cancer decades later, but it does add to the lengthy list of potential health benefits of avoiding excess weight during childhood and adolescence, said Dr. Chanan Meydan of the Mayanei HaYeshua Medical Center in Bnei Brak, Israel.

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