Japanese Study Shows Increased Physical Activity Lowers Risk of Cancer

Dec 30, 2008 by

Japanese Study Shows Increased Physical Activity Lowers Risk of Cancer

Yet another piece of research has linked one’s level of physical activity to the risk of getting cancer. As expected, there is an inverse correlation. And this particular study is said to be the first conducted on a non-Western population.

The study was published in the American Journal of Epidemiology and was carried out at the National Cancer Center and Public Health Center in Japan.

In total, about 80,000 people aged from 45 to 74 were surveyed, and the research team found that the higher the study subjects’ individual working metabolic rates, the lower their risk of getting cancer. This was more so for women, and for colon, liver, pancreatic and stomach cancers.

The individual metabolic rates were arrived at using the amount of time which one spent sleeping, sitting, standing, walking and exercising every day. This method is more detailed than most other similar studies, which more often than not simply look at single variables such as amount of non-active time or amount of time which one spends on physical activity.

“Our research looked at overall physical activity that people take part in daily, and not just exercise that people take part in for leisure or fitness,” said Manami Inoue, part of the study team.

Previous studies which had been conducted on Western populations had roughly given an indication that some one-third of all cancer deaths can be prevented through diet and exercise. This estimated proportion is more or less equal to the impact of tobacco smoking. And, broadly speaking, the factors which were found to reduce the risk of cancer also tends to lower cardiovascular disease risk.

So what is the significance of this study having been conducted on a non-Western population?

“There are a lot of physical differences between Asians and our Western counterparts. Asians are usually leaner, with a lower body mass index,” said Inoue.

“There has been a lot of research done in the past on the relationship between leisure and development of cancer in the West. However, our research is the first in Japan of its size and scope; we looked at overall exercise and labor, which is not only related to leisure,” he added.

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