Background: Identifying modifiable factors that influence the epidemiology of colorectal cancer incidence among multiethnic groups might be informative for the development of public health strategies targeting the disease. Minimal data exists describing the impact of physical activity on colorectal polyp risk in United States minority populations. The aim of this study is to evaluate the relationship of exercise on the prevalence of polyps in a multiethnic colorectal cancer screening population.
Results: We enrolled 982 patients: 558 Hispanic, 202 Asian,149 Black, and 69 White. Patients who reported exercising one or more hours weekly had a lower prevalence of any polyps (25.3% vs 33.2%, P = 0.008) as well as adenomas (13.8 vs. 18.9%, P = 0.03) compared to those who did not exercise. Black and Hispanic patients and those who were overweight or obese also had lower prevalence of polyps if they led an active lifestyle. Multivariate analysis revealed that age >55, male sex, and Black race/ethnicity were positively associated with the presence of adenomas, while a history of exercising one hour or more weekly was an independent negative predictor for the presence of adenomas anywhere in the colon (OR 0.67; 95% CI 0.4 - 0.9, P = 0.03).
Conclusions: Exercising one hour per week was associated with a lower prevalence of polyps and adenomas when compared to those who exercised less or not at all. An active lifestyle provides benefits to groups who are at risk for colorectal cancer, such as Blacks. It also provides significant protection to overweight and obese individuals. Public health initiatives should promote physical activity as a cancer prevention tool in multiethnic populations.
Trial registration: none.