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Physical Inactivity May Be Associated With Increased Risk of Cancer

Not getting enough physical activity has been associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity. Now a new study suggests that physical inactivity may increase the risk of cancer.

The researchers examined the number of cancer cases attributable to physical inactivity for adults in the United States over the age of 30. They used physical activity data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. Cancer incidence data was obtained from the US Cancer Statistics database. Optimal physical activity was defined as 5 or more hours per week of moderate intensity activity.

The researchers found that 3% of all cancer cases were attributable to physical inactivity. When they looked at specific cancers, they found that 16.9% of stomach cancers, 11.9% of endometrial cancers, 11.0% of kidney cancers, 9.3% of colon cancers, 8.1% of esophageal cancers, 6.5% of female breast cancers, and 3.9% of urinary bladder cancers were associated with physical inactivity.

The study was conducted by researchers from the American Cancer Society and Emory University. It was published on October 4, 2021, in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise
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