Physical activity protects against breast cancer across ages, weights

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An hour of physical activity a day decreases a woman’s risk of breast cancer by 12 percent, regardless of their age, weight, or location, according to a new study from France.

Researchers at the International Prevention Research Institute in Lyon, France performed a meta-analysis of 37 studies done between 1987 and 2004, which included over four million women. They found an hour of exercise a day seemed to protect women against developing breast cancer, and the effect was present across all ages, weights, and geographical locations. Only women who received hormone replacement therapy didn’t see any effect from physical activity.

"Adding breast cancer, including its aggressive types, to the list of diseases that can be prevented by physical activity should encourage the development of cities that foster sport by becoming bike and walk-friendly, the creation of new sports facilities, and the promotion of exercise through education campaigns," Professor Mathieu Boniol, Research Director at the International Prevention Research Institute, was quoted as saying. “This is a low cost, simple strategy to reduce the risk of a disease that currently has a very high cost, both to healthcare systems and to patients and their families. It is good news both for individuals and for policy makers."

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