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Another Good Reason to Exercise

More than 100,000 people are diagnosed with colon cancer in the U.S. each year. New research
suggests a straightforward, if not downright simple, way to cut that number by almost a quarter.

Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and Harvard University analyzed 52 studies about exercise and colon-cancer risk published between 1984 and June 2008 and collated their findings. In short, their work (published Tuesday in the British Journal of Cancer) found that regular exercise cut people's risk of developing colon cancer by 24 percent.

That benefit derived from any kind of physical activity, the researchers found: Colon cancer apparently doesn't distinguish between riding a bike and shoveling snow.

The study, to date the most comprehensive look at the colon cancer/exercise link, found that physical activity's protective effect extends to both men and women.

On its Web site, the American Cancer Society notes that of the 550,000 cancer deaths each year, a third can be attributed to poor diet, overweight and lack of physical activity. "Being active helps reduce your cancer risk by helping with weight control and can also reduce your risk by influencing hormone levels and your immune system," says the site.

Current government guidelines for adults call for at least 30 minutes (better yet, 45 to 60 minutes) of moderate to vigorous "intentional" exercise -- that is, above and beyond incidental activities such as taking the stairs and cleaning the house -- at least five days a week.

By Jennifer LaRue Huget  |  February 13, 2009; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Cancer , Nutrition and Fitness  
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12% of all yearly deaths in the U.S. are attibutable to lack of regular physical activity. That's 250,000 every year.

Automobile wrecks, as I recall, cause about 60,000 deaths/year.

So let's get moving, America!

-Steve Parker, M.D.

Posted by: SteveParkerMD | February 13, 2009 7:33 PM | Report abuse

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