Obesity and Prostate Cancer Risk

I just published a new paper linking obesity to an increased risk of prostate cancer after an initial benign biopsy that is getting some nice media attention.  Our work shows that among men who have had a prostate biopsy that was negative for cancer, obese men, as compared to normal weight men, had a significantly higher risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer in the years following that initial biopsy.  This risk was particularly high for a diagnosis occurring in the first four years after biopsy.  We also found that obesity was associated with the presence of pre-cancerous cells in the initial biopsy.

We know that obese men have a higher risk of dying of prostate cancer, but medical science hasn’t determined whether obesity puts men at a higher risk of developing prostate cancer or makes it more difficult to survive prostate cancer (or both).  This new work, particularly the finding that obesity is associated with the presence of pre-cancerous cells in otherwise benign biopsy specimens, suggests that obesity may be involved in the development of prostate cancer.

NYTimes.com, NBC.com and the Huffington Post have reported on the research and the NY Times is scheduled to write about it in the Tuesday Science Times.


New article on the utility of BMI as a health indicator

Two of my students and I just published a paper on the utility of body mass index (BMI) as an indicator of health.  There have been several critiques of BMI lately in the popular press that have suggested that alternative measures of body size are much better at predicting health status.  We decided to take a look at this and compared BMI to several alternative measures of body size as predictors of cholesterol, blood pressure and fasting glucose. We found that none of the alternative measures were consistently better than BMI.  So despite the recent criticism, it appears that BMI is a measure that we should be taken seriously as an indicator of obesity and obesity related health risks.

Steve Mooney wrote a nice companion piece for the 2×2 health blog and the article was featured in the NY Times Science Times