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Friday, November 4, 2011

Inactivity boosts cancer risk, research finds: We're all in trouble

Too much time spent sitting increases the risk of developing cancer, even for those who exercise regularly. That’s according to research presented Thursday morning at the American Institute for Cancer Research's annual conference.

The AICR presented data suggesting that about 100,000 new cases of breast cancer and colon cancer per year can be associated with physical inactivity. One study presented at the conference and published in October in the journal Cancer Prevention Research found that among post-menopausal women, taking frequent breaks from sitting was associated with smaller waist circumference and lower levels of C-reactive proteins, both biomarkers associated with elevated risk of some cancers. In an analysis of data for 4,757 participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) published in the European Heart Journal, even short periods of light activity -- frequently standing up and walking for as little as a minute at time -- reduced risk for such biomarkers as large waist circumference, elevated triglyceride levels and increased insulin resistance, which are linked to heightened cardiovascular disease but might also boost cancer risk.

Taken together and in the context of earlier research, the new information suggests that even small increases in our physical activity may pay off in spades. more