Exercise During Adolescents Lowers Future Risk of Cancer in Women
It’s no secret that regular exercise has numerous health benefits, but a recent study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention has found a strong connection between regular exercise in adolescent girls, and a reduced risk of death from cancer, cardiovascular disease, and other causes.
Researchers at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the Shanghai Cancer Institute examined data from the Shanghai Women’s Health Study (SWHS). Funded by the National Cancer Institute, this cohort study was initiated in 1996 and includes approximately 75,000 female Chinese participants between the ages of 40 and 70 that live in Shanghai. SWHS collected survey data, and blood and urine samples, and have performed follow up interviews with these women every two to three years in an attempt to identify causal-specific mortality and site-specific cancer incidence.
Researchers found that adolescent exercise, regardless of the women’s exercise routines as adults, lead to a reduced risk of cancer and all-cause mortality. SWHS participants that exercised both as adolescents and adults reduced their risk of death from cancer by 13%, by cardiovascular disease by 17%, and from all causes by 20%. Participation in team sports in adolescence reduced the risk of death from cancer even further. “While there have been several studies of the role of weight gain and obesity on overall mortality later in life, the authors believe this is the first cohort study of the impact of exercise during adolescence on later cause-specific and all-cause mortality among women,” an article from the Vanderbilt University Medical Center Reporter stated. This is another step in identifying early preventative measures to decrease the number of deaths not only from cancer, but from any number of other factors as well.