(HealthDay News) — There is a strong positive association between body mass index (BMI) and incident Hodgkin lymphoma (HL), with the positive association seen at BMIs greater than 24.2 kg/m², according to a study recently published in the British Journal of Cancer.

Helen Strongman, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and colleagues examined the shape of the correlation between BMI and HL in individuals aged 16 years or older using primary care data from the U.K. Clinical Practice Research Datalink. Cox models were fitted with linear, nonlinear, and categorical BMI and were adjusted for potential confounders.

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Data were included for 5.82 million patients; during 41.6 million years of follow-up, 927 developed HL. The researchers observed a correlation for each 5-kg/m² linear increase in BMI with a 10 percent increase in HL. A J-shaped association was suggested, with incidence increasing for BMI greater than 24.2 kg/m². Excess weight was estimated to account for 7.4 percent of adult HL cases.

“Our analysis strengthens evidence of a pattern of increased risk of HL with increasing BMI,” the authors write. “This supports calls for strategies to prevent excess weight gain beyond the World Health Organization healthy weight category in the general population.”

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