High sugar intake in adolescence may increase colorectal adenoma risk

People who consume high amounts of simple sugars and sugar-sweetened beverages in adolescence may have a greater risk of developing colorectal adenomas—benign tumors that can be precursors to cancer—than people who consume lower amounts, according to a new study led by researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

The study, published March 19, 2021, in Gastroenterology, analyzed data from 33,106 participants of the Nurses’ Health Study II who provided adolescent dietary information in 1998 and subsequently underwent lower gastrointestinal endoscopy between 1999 and 2015.

“Exposures during childhood and adolescence are likely critical for cancers because of the long subsequent lifetime at risk and enhanced susceptibility,” senior author Kana Wu, principal research scientist in the Department of Nutrition, said in an April 5, 2021, Reuters article. “However, most epidemiological studies on the role of diet and lifestyle in cancers have focused on exposures during mid-to-late adulthood, likely missing important windows for cancer prevention.”

Read the Reuters article: Simple Sugar Intake in Adolescence Tied to Colorectal Adenoma Risk