Objective: To determine whether body size measurements are risk factors for colon cancer death among the Japanese.
Design and subjects: A nationwide prospective study, the Japan Collaborative Cohort (JACC) Study from 1988 to 1999. The present analysis included 43 171 men and 58 775 women aged 40-79 y who respond to a questionnaire on current weight and height, weight around 20 y of age, and other lifestyle factors. Body mass index (BMI) at baseline and 20 y of age (B-BMI and 20-BMI, respectively) were calculated.
Results: We identified 127 deaths from colon cancer during the follow-up of 424 698 person-years among men and 122 deaths during the follow-up of 591 787 person-years among women. After adjustments for the lifestyle factors known to modify the risk of colon cancer, weight at baseline showed a significant positive association in women, while no such association was seen in men. There was also a significant trend of increasing risk with the increase in B-BMI among women. Women with B-BMI >/=28 kg/m(2) had a relative risk (RR) of 3.41 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.44-8.06) compared with those with BMI of 20-<22 kg/m(2). 20-BMI also presented the same trend of increasing risk as B-BMI. Women with 20-BMI of <22 and B-BMI of >26 kg/m(2), that is, excessive BMI gain, had a high RR of 3.41 (95% CI 1.29-9.02) compared with those with 20-BMI of <22 and B-BMI of <22 kg/m(2). There were no corresponding trends of colon cancer risk for B-BMI, 20-BMI, or BMI change among men.
Conclusions: These study data suggest that obesity and excessive weight gain are associated with the risk of colon cancer death in Japanese women but no such relationship was found in Japanese men.