Purpose: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the role of physical activity in the development of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL).
Methods: Incident NHL cases and population-based controls were identified from three case-control studies conducted in four midwestern states: Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, and Nebraska. A total of 1177 cases (993 men, 184 women) and 3625 controls (2918 men, 707 women) were interviewed. Usual occupation (all states) and lifetime occupational histories (Iowa and Minnesota only), obtained from interviews, were classified for energy expenditure (EE) and sitting time. Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals were calculated comparing moderate and high activity levels with sedentary levels.
Results: There was no evidence of an association between NHL and occupational physical activity measured either by EE or sitting time. Among men, the OR associated with usual occupation moderate and high EE were 1.1 and 1.0, respectively. For sitting time, the OR were also 1.1 and 1.0 for moderate and high activity, respectively. Among women, slight nonsignificant elevations in risk of NHL were observed among the high energy level and high activity sitting categories. The trends were not significant. There was no evidence of confounding or effect modification by vital status, hair dye use, or solvent exposure. Among subjects with lifetime occupational histories, there were no significant increases or trends for cumulative or average EE or sitting time. There was no association between occupational physical activity and NHL.
Conclusion: Research on nonoccupational physical activity, which in the U.S. is likely the more important component of daily activity than occupational activity, may still be warranted given the laboratory evidence linking physical activity and immune function, an important factor in the etiology of NHL.