According to a recent study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention women who exercise in teen years are less likely to die of cancer and cardiovascular disease. The research was led by professor of medicine Sarah J. Nechuta from Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center in Nashville, Tennessee.
The study involved 75.000 Chinese women with ages between 40 and 70. The participants were required to answer questions regarding how often they exercised when they were between 13 and 19 years old. Afterwards the researchers observed the women for 13 years. They also analyzed general lifestyle habits such as exercise in adulthood. Finally the researchers analyzed how many of the participants died of cancer and cardiovascular disease among other conditions. It was observed that after 13 years 5.282 of the women involved in the study died. 2.375 of them died of cancer and 1.620 died because of cardiovascular disease.
The researchers noted that the participants who exercised up to 80 minutes weekly as teens had 16 percent less chances to die of cancer and 15 percent lower chances of any other disease compared to the women who did not exercise at all when they were teens. Sarah J. Nechuta remarked:
Our results support the importance of promoting exercise participation in adolescence to reduce mortality in later life and highlight the critical need for the initiation of disease prevention early in life.”
The researchers also noted that women who exercised both when they were teens and when they were adults had 20 percent reduced chances of dying from any cause. It is not clear whether exercising in teen years influence mortality in adulthood even though this associating was found.
Nechuta explained that the findings of the study could be explained by the fact that those who exercise in adolescence are more likely to exercise in adulthood as well. In addition they may also be likely to adopt healthy behaviors which reduce their risk of death. Nechuta acknowledged that the study has its limitations due to the fact that the data regarding the exercising habits was self-reported which means it is not reliable since it is just what the participants recalled from their adolescence. According to her more research with detailed information about physical activity in adolescence needs to be conducted.
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