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Exercise, weight control may help reduce risk of breast cancer, Meharry-Vanderbilt study suggests

Women who exercise more and keep their weight under control may dramatically reduce their odds of developing breast cancer, a population-based study by a team of investigators at Meharry Medical College and the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center suggests.

The researchers, along with colleagues at the Shanghai Cancer Institute in China, report a strong link between "energy balance" and breast cancer risk in the June issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). Energy balance represents the difference between energy intake (eating) and energy expenditure (activity).

Breast cancer will be diagnosed in more than 211,000 American women this year, and will claim almost 41,000 lives, making it the second leading cancer killer among women in the United States. While certain factors are known to increase breast cancer risk including family history and age of first menstruation and onset of menopause there is a need for more information about those risk factors that can be modified.

Women with low levels of physical activity and higher body mass index levels (weight divided by height) were at more than twice the risk of developing breast cancer than women who undertook approximately three metabolic equivalent hours (MET) per day, per year, of exercise, and had lower BMI levels, the researchers found. This level of exercise is equivalent to about 45 minutes of brisk walking or 20 minutes of vigorous exercise per day.

"Given the substantial level of weight gain in industrialized countries in the last two decades," said lead author Alecia S. Malin, DrPH, CHES, assistant professor of Surgery at Meharry and assistant professor of Medicine at Vanderbilt, "there is great interest in understanding the influence of energy balance on cancer risk, and in developing preventive measures that can effectively minimize excess risk. Our study suggests that the promotion of behavior pa
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Contact: Clinton Colmenares
clinton.colmenares@vanderbilt.edu
615-322-4747
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
9-Jun-2005


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