Sitting Too Much Increases Risk of Cancer in Women

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Shainhouse_160715A recent study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention suggests that women who sit too much are at an increased risk of developing cancer.

The study focused on 184,000 individuals aged 50 to 70 who were enrolled in the American Cancer Society Cancer Prevention Study II Nutrition Cohort. This prospective study followed 69,260 men for about 13 years and 77,462 women for about 16 years. Participants were cancer-free at the beginning but 27% of the men and almost 16% of the women were later diagnosed.

Participants were asked about hours spent working, exercising, completing household activities, and sitting for leisure. Sitting activities included watching TV, reading, and playing on electronic gadgets. After accounting for physical activity, weight, and other factors, researchers found that the more time women spent sitting for leisure led to an increased risk of developing cancer; however, this was not the case among men.

Women who spent their leisure time sitting for more than six hours compared to less than three hours had a 65% increased risk of developing multiple myeloma, a 10% increased risk of developing invasive breast cancer, and a 43% increased risk of developing ovarian cancer.

No associations among men were found between risk of site-specific cancers and leisurely sitting time. However, obese men who sat for long periods of time had an 11% increased risk of developing cancer.

Very few studies have evaluated sitting time and risk of cancer. Researchers are hopeful that this study will lead to further research in this area to help create effective interventions to prevent cancer incidences.

Sources for Today’s Article:
Holohan, M., “Study reveals that women who sit too much have increased risk of cancer,” Today web site, July 16, 2015;
Patel, A.V., et al., “Leisure-time spent sitting and site-specific cancer incidence in a large US cohort,” Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention 2015; doi:10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-15-0237.

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About the Author, Browse Leah's Articles

Leah Shainhouse is a Registered Dietitian with the College of Dietitians of Ontario and a member of the Dietitians of Canada. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science, Honors, in Nutritional Sciences from the University of British Columbia and went on to complete her dietetic training and Master of Science degree in Human Nutrition at McGill University. Leah has a strong desire to help shape the lives of individuals through a healthy lifestyle. She enjoys working with people to help... Read Full Bio »