Background: The aim of the current study was to evaluate the relation between physical activity and breast carcinoma risk with specific emphasis on interaction with other aspects of energy balance.
Methods: The Netherlands Cohort Study on diet and cancer was conducted among 62,537 women ages 55-69 years at baseline. Information regarding baseline recreational physical activity, history of sports participation, and occupational physical activity was collected with a questionnaire in 1986. After 7.3 years of follow-up, 1208 incident breast carcinoma cases were available for case-cohort analyses.
Results: A summed total of baseline recreational physical activity (including walking, cycling, gardening) showed an inverse association with breast carcinoma risk. Women who were active in the above-mentioned activities for > 90 minutes a day had a rate ratio (RR) of 0.76 (95% confidence interval [95% CI], 0.58-0.99) compared with women who were active < 30 minutes a day. Women who ever participated into sports before baseline had a RR of 1.13 (95% CI, 0.94-1.37) compared with women who never participated in sports. The relation between sports participation and breast carcinoma risk did not appear to be dependent on the time window of participation (before/after menarche, before/after birth of the first child, before/after age 20 years). No interaction was found between baseline recreational physical activity, body mass index (BMI) (kg/m(2)), energy intake, and weight gain/loss during adult life in relation to breast carcinoma, although in the subgroup of women with a high BMI we found a stronger inverse relation between recreational physical activity and breast carcinoma risk independent of energy intake. Occupational physical activity was not found to be related to breast carcinoma risk.
Conclusions: The current study findings support the hypothesis that recreational physical activity is associated inversely with breast carcinoma risk.
Copyright 2001 American Cancer Society.