Adolescent physical activity and inactivity: a prospective study of risk of benign breast disease in young women

Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2014 Aug;146(3):611-8. doi: 10.1007/s10549-014-3055-y. Epub 2014 Jul 18.


In previous investigations of adolescent activity recalled in adulthood, modest reductions in risk of benign breast disease (BBD) and premenopausal breast cancer were seen with moderate-strenuous activity during high school. We therefore investigated physical activity, walking, and recreational inactivity (watching TV-videos, playing computer-videogames) reported by adolescent girls in relation to their subsequent risk for BBD as young women. The Growing Up Today Study includes 9,039 females, 9-15 years at study initiation (1996), who completed questionnaires annually through 2001, then in 2003, 2005, 2007, 2010 and 2013. Annual surveys (1996-2001) obtained data on physical and sedentary activities during the past year. Beginning in 2005, women (≥18 years) reported whether they had ever been diagnosed with BBD confirmed by breast biopsy (n = 133 cases, to 11/01/2013). Logistic regression (adjusted for baseline adiposity and age; additional factors in multivariable-adjusted models) estimated associations between adolescent activities (moderate-vigorous, walking, METS, inactivity) and biopsy-confirmed BBD in young women. Girls who walked the most had significantly lower risk of BBD (multivariable-adjusted OR = 0.61, ≥30 vs ≤15 min/day; p = .049). We observed no evidence that inactivity (≥3 vs <2 h/day OR = 1.02, p = .92) or METS (top vs bottom tertile OR = 1.19, p = .42) were associated with BBD. Accounting for factors including family history, childhood adiposity, and other activities and inactivities, adolescent girls who walked the most were at lower risk for BBD. We found no evidence that high moderate-vigorous activity might reduce risk, nor did we observe any association with inactivity. Continued follow-up will re-evaluate these findings as more BBD cases, and ultimately breast cancer, are diagnosed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Breast / pathology*
  • Breast Diseases / complications
  • Breast Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Breast Diseases / pathology
  • Breast Neoplasms / complications
  • Breast Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Motor Activity*
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Obesity / pathology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires