Feb. 13, 2009 -- People who are physically active are less likely to develop colon cancer, a new research review confirms.
"This is a robust association and gives all the more evidence that physical activity is truly protective against colon cancer," researcher Kathleen Wolin, ScD, says in a news release.
The most physically active participants were 24% less likely than the least active participants to have colon cancer. That pattern held for men and women, regardless of whether they got their activity on the job or in their spare time.
Also, Wolin's study doesn't prove that physical activity alone prevents colon cancer.
Physically active people may have other advantages that lower their colon cancer risk. And colon cancer can still strike active people; many factors affect cancer risk.
Still, being physically active has many benefits, and it's a cornerstone of healthy living.
"There is an ever-growing body of evidence that the behavior choices we make affect our cancer risk. Physical activity is at the top of the list of ways that you can reduce your risk of colon cancer," say Wolin, who works in St. Louis at the Siteman Cancer Center at the Barnes-Jewish Hospital and the Washington University School of Medicine.