New study has found that obese women, especially those who are morbidly obese develop breast cancer at an earlier age than other women.

The likelihood of developing breast cancer is much higher for those who are morbidly obese, according to a study published in the Spanish journal Nutrición Hospitalaria.

Adults’ overweight and obesity ranges are determined by using weight and height to calculate the body mass index. BMI is correlated with the amount of body fat. An adult who has a BMI of 25 – 29.9 is considered overweight. People with a BMI of 30 or higher are considered obese according to the CDC.

The study was carried out by researchers at the University of Granada led by Professor María José Aguilar Cordero.

In the study researchers examined 524 women diagnosed with breast cancer in Granada, Spain.

They assessed the nutritional status of the patient’s normal weight, obesity and morbid obesity and their age at the time of diagnosis. Women with a family history of breast cancer were separated from those who had no familial history.

Researchers found obesity levels in women had a direct connection with diagnosis of breast cancer at an early age, a stark contrast to previous studies stating individuals with higher body mass index had lower risk of suffering breast cancer.

Through the study researchers were also able to find out that women diagnosed with breast cancer at an earlier age also started menstruating between the ages of 9 to 10.

The genetics and family history of cancer are very relevant factors; up to 18 percent of breast cancer in obese women were related to genetic factors.