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J Obes. 2012;2012:518358. doi: 10.1155/2012/518358. Epub 2012 May 13.

Longitudinal associations of leisure-time physical activity and cancer mortality in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (1986-2006).

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  • 1Department of Nutrition, Food Studies and Public Health, New York University, NY 10012, USA.


Longitudinal associations between leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) and overall cancer mortality were evaluated within the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III; 1988-2006; n = 15,535). Mortality status was ascertained using the National Death Index. Self-reported LTPA was divided into inactive, regular low-to-moderate and vigorous activity. A frequency-weighted metabolic equivalents (METS/week) variable was also computed. Hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated for overall cancer mortality in the whole sample, by body mass index categories and insulin resistance (IR) status. Nonsignificant protective associations were observed for regular low-to-moderate and vigorous activity, and for the highest quartile of METS/week (HRs range: 0.66-0.95). Individuals without IR engaging in regular vigorous activity had a 48% decreased risk of cancer mortality (HR: 0.52; 95% CI: 0.28-0.98) in multivariate analyses. Conversely, nonsignificant positive associations were observed in people with IR. In conclusion, regular vigorous activity may reduce risk of cancer mortality among persons with normal insulin-glucose metabolism in this national sample.

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