Physical Activity During Leisure Time Linked to Cancer Risk Interview with:

Steven C. Moore PhD, MPH Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics Rockville, MD

Dr. Steven Moore

Steven C. Moore PhD, MPH
Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics
Rockville, MD What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Moore: More than half of Americans fail to meet recommended levels of regular physical activity; physical inactivity has become a major public health concern.

Physical activity during leisure time is known to reduce risks of heart-disease and all-cause mortality, as well as risks of colon, breast, and endometrial cancers. However, less is known about whether physical activity reduces risk of other cancers.

Hundreds of prospective studies have examined associations between physical activity and risk of different cancers. Due to small case numbers, results have been inconclusive for most cancer types.

In this study, we examined how leisure-time physical activity relates to risk of 26 different cancer types in a pooled analysis of 12 prospective cohort studies with 1.44 million participants. Our objectives were to identify cancers associated with leisure-time physical activity, and determine whether associations varied by body size and/or smoking history. What should readers take away from your report?

Dr. Moore: We found that high versus low levels of leisure-time physical activity were associated with lower risks of 13 of 26 cancers. We replicated prior findings for colon, breast, and endometrial cancers. We also found lower risk for esophageal adenocarcinoma, myeloid leukemia, myeloma and cancers of the liver, lung, kidney, gastric cardia, head and neck, rectum, and bladder.

Associations were similar between overweight/obese and normal weight people. Ten of the 13 inverse associations were independent of BMI, in that associations remained significant after adjusting for body mass index.

Smoking status modified the association for lung cancer, but not for other smoking-related cancers. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Moore: Future research should target in greater detail the type, intensity, and amount of physical activity needed to reduce overall cancer risk in subsets with the relevant data. Thank you for your contribution to the community.


Moore SC, Lee I, Weiderpass E, et al. Association of Leisure-Time Physical Activity With Risk of 26 Types of Cancer in 1.44 Million Adults. JAMA Intern Med.Published online May 16, 2016. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.1548.

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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