Body Roundness May Increase Risk for Colorectal Cancer

Individuals with overweight and obesity who are inactive are particularly at risk for colorectal cancer.

Body roundness, including visceral fat, is positively correlated with risk for colorectal cancer (CRC), especially among people who are inactive and have a relatively high body mass index (BMI), according to a study published in Lipids in Health and Disease.

For the analysis, researchers sought to determine the association between body roundness index (BRI) and the risk for CRC. Body roundness can accurately measure body fat and visceral fat levels. Also, CRC has been linked with body fat; but, the association with BRI was unknown prior to the study, according to the study authors.

Researchers enrolled 53,766 individuals in the study using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Study participants were aged 18 years and older, 48.6% were men, the mean [SD] BMI was 27.80[8.15] kg/m2, and mean BRI was 4.14[2.92].

Analyses involved logistic regression in assessing the correlation between BRI scores and CRC risk. Researchers also stratified the sample to determine association based on population type. Using different questionnaire responses, laboratory data, and anthropometric indices, researchers performed a receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve to predict CRC risk.

Compared with traditional anthropometric indicators, for example body weight, BMI, WC, and WHtR, BRI is more powerful in predicting the risk of CRC…

Participants with elevated BRIs had greater CRC risk compared with those with no elevated BRI (P <.001), even when adjusting for all covariates (P =.017). Also, CRC risk was associated with higher BRI among people who were inactive (Q3 odds ratio [OR], 3.76 [95% CI, 2.139-6.610 P <.05]; Q4 OR, 5.972 [95% CI, 3.347-8.470; P <.01]), had overweight (Q3 OR, 2.573 [95% CI, 1.012-7.431; P <.05]; Q4 OR 3.318; [95% CI, 1.221-9.020; P <.05]), or obesity (Q3 OR, Q3 3.889 [95% CI 1.829-8.266; P <.001]; Q4 OR, 4.920 [95% CI, 2.349-10.308; P <.001]).

Based on the ROC curve, BRI was a more accurate predictor of the risk for CRC than other anthropometric indicators (P <.05) like body weight, waist circumference, and BMI.

Study limitations include the cross-sectional study design and an inability to generalize the findings.

Authors suggest that healthcare providers might consider incorporating the BRI into CRC screenings and suggest they should also raise awareness among patients of the possible connection between abdominal fat and CRC risk.

“Compared with traditional anthropometric indicators, for example body weight, BMI, WC, and WHtR, BRI is more powerful in predicting the risk of CRC, and it is more convenient and efficient than the measurement of visceral fat by MRI or CT,” the study authors noted.

This article originally appeared on Gastroenterology Advisor


Gao W, Jin L, Li D. The association between the body roundness index and the risk of colorectal cancer: a cross-sectional study. Lipids Health Dis. Published online April 18, 2023. doi:10.1186/s12944-023-01814-2