Inactivity and Cancer: A Closer Look

As we highlighted yesterday, the British medical journal The Lancet has released a series of papers on inactivity and its link to non-communicable diseases (NCDs). The authors of one paper used statistical methods to derive what they consider very conservative estimates of how many of these diseases could be prevented globally if everyone became more active (defined as meeting the WHO guidelines on physical activity, which match the Federal Government’s Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans).

The non-communicable diseases in question? Coronary heart disease, Type 2 diabetes … and cancer. Specifically, breast and colon cancers.

All of us at AICR, who have been working to raise awareness about the link between physical activity and lower cancer risk for many years, welcome these papers. It’s gratifying, given the strong evidence presented in the AICR/WCRF expert report and that continues to mount in the AICR/WCRF Continuous Update Project (CUP), to finally see cancer taking its place alongside heart disease and diabetes on such a high-profile list.

Last year, at the AICR Annual Research Conference, we released estimates of the number of US cancers linked to inactivity. There are several ways to calculate such estimates, and the Lancet team used different statistical methods to arrive at their numbers, but the results are strikingly similar, and make it clearer than ever that being inactive has a major impact on cancer, on par with obesity and smoking. Continue reading


Don’t Just Sit There: The Case Against Sitting Gets (Even) Stronger

A new study adds to the mounting evidence that the kind of prolonged sitting most of us do every day is killing us. That’s the bad news.

The good news — which this new study in the journal Diabetes Care also demonstrates — is that simply breaking up those long hours of sitting with a little walking can help.

Last November, at AICR’s Research Conference, we highlighted exciting research that measured several common indicators of cancer risk (like insulin resistance, waist circumference and inflammation) and found that adding even brief activity breaks decreased these indicators in ways linked to lower cancer risk. Continue reading


Watching Lots of TV Increases Risk of Early Mortality

If you were to see a sign prompting you to take the stairs instead of the elevator, would you do it? A lot of people apparently would, suggests a new study. The study, featured in today’s Cancer Research Update, looked at the effects of seeing the image developed by New York City government officials (right).

Through a lot of observing and counting, researchers found that people immediately began switching from the elevators to the stairs after posting the sign. And more people were still climbing stairs nine months later.

Along with its main finding, the study illustrates ways we can build physical activity into the day. That’s important because being active for 30-minutes or more every day reduces the risk of several cancers, along with other chronic diseases.

But moving throughout the day may influence our health beyond that isolated activity time: A growing body of research now suggests there are health perils of not moving – being sedentary. Continue reading