Scientists studied 1.44 million participants in the United States and Europe—57 percent of them female and 43 percent male. The individuals were between ages 19–98; the median age was 59.
Those studied exercised in a “moderate to vigorous intensity,” with a median level of about 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week.
The study suggests exercise lowers the risk of 13 types of cancers: esophageal adenocarcinoma, liver, lung, kidney, gastric cardia, endometrial, myeloid leukemia, myeloma, colon, head and neck, rectal, bladder, and breast.
— JAMAInternalMed (@JAMAInternalMed) May 17, 2016
The results show that the associations were broadly generalized among different populations, including those who are overweight or obese and those with a history of smoking.
“These findings … confirm and extend the evidence for a benefit of physical activity on cancer risk and support its role as a key component of population-wide cancer prevention and control efforts,” the National Cancer Institute said in a statement about the study.
“Health care professionals counseling inactive adults should promote physical activity as a component of a healthy lifestyle and cancer prevention,” said the lead author of the study, Steven C. Moore, an investigator with the National Cancer Institute.