(HealthDay News) — Treatment, lifestyle, and the use of specific antidepressants may contribute to obesity among survivors of childhood cancer, according to a study published online Dec. 19 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Daniel M. Green, M.D., of the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., and colleagues analyzed data from 9,284 adult survivors identified through the 26 institutions participating in the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study. The survivors were at least 18 years old at the time of the completion of the 2003 follow-up questionnaire. Obesity was defined as a body mass index ≥30kg/m² and was calculated based on self-reported weight and height in the follow-up 2003 survey.

The researchers found that independent risk factors for obesity included cancer diagnosed at 5 to 9 years of age, abnormal Short Form-36 physical function scores, hypothalamic/pituitary radiation doses of 20 to 30 Gy, and paroxetine (Paxil) use. Meeting U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for vigorous physical activity and keeping anxiety to a medium level reduced the risk of obesity (P=0.01 and P=0.04, respectively).

“Treatment, lifestyle, and intrapersonal factors, as well as the use of specific antidepressants, may contribute to obesity among survivors. A multifaceted intervention, including alternative drug and other therapies for depression and anxiety, may be required to reduce risk,” the authors write.

One author disclosed being a consultant for a pharmaceutical company.

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