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Exercise May Cut Endometrial Cancer Risk

Study Shows Lower Risk for Women Who Exercise 150 Minutes or More Per Week
By Katrina Woznicki
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

Woman lifting barbell

Nov. 8, 2010 -- Exercising 150 minutes or more every week may reduce the risk of endometrial cancer by a third, according to a study.

Researchers led by Herbert Yu, MD, MSc, PhD, associate professor at Yale School of Public Health in New Haven, Conn., compared 668 women with endometrial cancer with 665 women of the same age who did not have the disease. Women answered questionnaires about their lifestyles, environment, and physical and recreational activities.

Based on the survey results, the researchers found that:

  • Women who exercised 150 minutes a week or more had a 34% reduction in endometrial cancer even after adjusting for other factors such as body mass index (BMI), a measurement of height and weight.
  • When looking at BMI and activity levels, women who were active and had a BMI of 25 or less showed an even greater reduction at 73%.
  • Women who were of a normal weight but inactive had a 55% lowered risk, whereas women who were overweight and active had a 38% reduced risk.

The findings were presented at the Ninth Annual American Association for Cancer Research Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research Conference held in Philadelphia.

Researchers said the results suggest that both exercise and BMI levels affect endometrial cancer risk and that they also reaffirm earlier findings showing an independent association between exercise and a lowered risk for endometrial cancer.

The CDC recommends adults ages 18 to 64 get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week and muscle-strengthening activities that work all major muscle groups on two or more days a week.

Endometrial cancer is a cancer that forms in the lining of the uterus. The National Cancer Institute estimates there will be 43,470 new cases and 7,950 deaths from endometrial cancer in the U.S. in 2010.

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