Height, body mass index, and ovarian cancer: a follow-up of 1.1 million Norwegian women

J Natl Cancer Inst. 2003 Aug 20;95(16):1244-8. doi: 10.1093/jnci/djg010.


Body mass index (BMI) has shown both positive and negative associations with ovarian cancer. Whether a possible association between height and ovarian cancer exists is unknown. We explored whether BMI and height were associated with ovarian cancer risk in a Norwegian cohort of approximately 1.1 million women, aged 14-74 years who were measured between 1963 and 1999. The cohort was followed for an average of 25 years through linkage to population-based cancer and death registries. Among the cohort, 7882 histologically verified cases of ovarian cancer were registered. Relative to women with a medium BMI (18.5-24.9 kg/m2), women who were overweight or obese in adolescence or young adulthood had an increased risk of ovarian cancer; women with a very high BMI in adolescence had a relative risk of 1.56 (95% confidence interval = 1.04 to 2.32) compared with women with medium BMI. No such association was seen in older women. A positive association between height and risk of ovarian cancer, particularly endometrioid ovarian cancer, was observed in women younger than 60 years of age.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Body Height*
  • Body Mass Index*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Norway / epidemiology
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors