Body weight and physical activity as predictors of colorectal cancer risk

Nutr Cancer. 1990;13(1-2):9-17. doi: 10.1080/01635589009514041.


The associations between colorectal cancer and body weight (expressed as body mass index) and between colorectal cancer and physical activity were examined in 715 histologically confirmed cases of colorectal adenocarcinoma and 727 age- and sex-matched controls. The data were obtained from a large, population-based study, The Melbourne Colorectal Cancer Study, which was conducted in Melbourne, Australia. There was a statistically significant increase in the risk of rectal cancer but not of colon cancer in overweight and obese males but not in females. This association for males remained statistically significant after adjustment was made for dietary risk factors previously established for this study (Nutr Cancer 9, 21-42, 1987), with the exception of sodium intake, which produced a downward modification of the relative risk close to unity. The increased risk of rectal cancer in overweight and obese males was modified by beer intake, which was previously found to be a risk for rectal cancer in males in this study. Various levels of physical activity were not statistically significantly associated with the risk of colorectal cancer in either males or females. Also, the colorectal cancer risks associated with the body mass index were not significantly altered by adjustment for the physical activity level.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Body Mass Index*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / etiology
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Rectal Neoplasms / etiology
  • Regression Analysis
  • Risk Factors