In women, a new study suggests that there could be a link between participation in exercise as adolescents and risk of death from cancer and all causes later in life.
The study was published in a recent issue of Cancer Epidemology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.
Lead author Sarah J. Nechuta, MPH, PhD, assistant professor of medicine at Vanderbilt Epidemiology Center and Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center in Nashville, Tennessee, explains in a news release from the American Association for Cancer Research that understanding the long-term impact of modifiable lifestyle factors such as exercise in adolescence is critically important and can have substantial public health implications for disease prevention over the course of life.
According to the release, Nechuta and the rest of her research team used data from the Shanghai Women’s Health Study, a large, population-based prospective cohort study of about 75,000 women ages 40 to 70, from Shanghai, China, led by Wei Zheng, MD, PhD, at the Vanderbilt Epidemiology Center. The study had detailed information on the participants, such as self-reported exercise participation between the ages of 13 and 19, adult lifestyle-related factors, and mortality outcomes. In-person interviews were conducted to collect baseline data and follow-up data every 2 to 3 years.
After an average of 12.9 years of follow-up, there were 5,282 deaths, including 2,375 from cancer and 1,620 from cardiovascular disease, per the release.
After adjusting for socioeconomic factors in adult life, the researchers found that women who participated in exercise as adolescents for 1.33 hours a week or less had a 16% lowered risk for death from cancer and a 15% lowered risk for death from all causes; those who participated in exercise as adolescents for more than 1.33 hours a week had a 13% lowered risk for death from all causes, the release explains.
The researchers also found, after adjusting for socioeconomic factors in adult life, that women who participated in team sports as adolescents had a 14% lowered risk for death from cancer and a 10% lowered risk for death from all causes. Also, women who participated in exercise both in their adolescent and adult lives had a 20% lowered risk for death from all causes, the release continue
“In women, adolescent exercise participation, regardless of adult exercise, was associated with reduced risk of cancer and all-cause mortality,” Nechuta states in the release.
“Our results support the importance of promoting exercise participation in adolescence to reduce mortality in later life and highlight the critical need for the initiation of disease prevention early in life,” she continues.
[Source(s): American Association for Cancer Research, EurekAlert]