A new Swedish study suggests that being overweight in your teens doubles your chances of developing colon cancer later in life. The study looked at nearly 240,000 Swedish males between the ages of 16 and 20— 8% of which were overweight or obese. Researchers followed these men for about 35 year and found that 885 of those were diagnosed with colon cancer later in life, 384 with rectal cancer. Statistically, the men who were obese in there mid to late teens were more likely to have developed those cancers than those who were not overweight.

The good news is that if found early enough, colon cancer can be stopped before it is started. However, here are a few other ways to lower your chances of getting colorectal cancer:

  • Stay at a healthy weight throughout life
  • Be physically active; limit the time you spend sitting, lying down, watching TV, etc.
  • Eat at least 2.5 cups of vegetables and fruits each day
  • Choose whole grains over refined grain products
  • Limit the amount of red and processed meat you eat
  • Limit your alcohol consumption to 1 drink per day for women and 2 per day for men
  • Don’t use tobacco in any form