A new study has found that women who enjoyed physical exercises during their teenage years have 16 percent (16%) less of a chance of developing cancer during their adult years.
A team of researchers led by Sarah J. Nechuta, assistant professor of medicine from Vanderbilt Epidemiology Center (Nashville, Tennessee), looked at a group of 75.000 Chinese women with the age between 40 and 70, and asked them whether or not they used to exercise when they were between the ages of 13 and 19. If they answered yes, they were also asked how frequently and how much.
As a measure of control, the researchers also considered the subjects’ current lifestyle habits, including how much they presently exercised. These interviews were conducted once every two to three years. The field experts also collect blood samples and urine samples from the subjects when they saw them for these interviews.
On average, a subject was followed for a period of 13 years, and the goal of the study was to assess how many of the participating women would die from causes such as cancer or cardiovascular disease.
The findings highlight the benefit of going to the gym and playing sports in one’s youth as the research team concluded that women who used to exercise regularly during their teenage years had less of a chance of developing cancer than those who didn’t, regardless of how much they exercised as adults.
Professor J. Nechuta gave a statement saying that “In women, adolescent exercise participation, regardless of adult exercise, was associated with reduced risk of cancer and all-cause mortality”.
Out of the 75.000 women, only 5.282 of them died over the course of the study. And out of the latter group, 2.375 subjects died from cancer, while 1.620 died from cardiovascular disease.
But women who spent as little as 1.20 hours to 1.33 hours per week performing physical exercises during their teenage years had 16 percent (16%) less of a chance of dyeing from cancer over the course of the study, and 15 percent (15%) less of a chance of dyeing from any other cause during the same period of time.
Participating women who spent less than 1.20 hours to 1.33 hours per week performing physical exercises, but were still active to some extend, had 13 percent (13%) less of a chance of dyeing from anything other than cancer over the course of the study.
Women who participated in team sports during their teenage years were found to have 14 percent (14%) less of a chance of dyeing from cancer over the course of the study and 10 percent (10%) less of a chance of dyeing from any other cause during the same period of time.
It’s worth mentioning that spending more than the above mentioned time exercising as teens did not lower a woman’s chances of developing cancer, cardiovascular disease or any other condition, more than 16 percent (16%).
However, women who used to exercise as teens and kept exercising as adults, had 20 percent (20%) less of a chance of dyeing from all other causes except cancer.
The researchers admitted that their study is limited by the fact that it relied on self-reported information, but also concluded that factors such as exercising during adult years, a woman’s BDI (body mass index), and the potential development of chronic diseases, may all be influenced by adopting a healthy lifestyle during teenage years.
The study was published earlier this month, in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.
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