Physical exercise helps keeps cancer at bay: WHO

Feb 03, 2011

The World Health Organisation is advising people engage in at least 150 minutes of "moderate" physical exercise a week to reduce the risk of breast and colon cancers, in new recommendations published Friday.

"Cancer is preventable and many cancers are avoidable," said Eduardo Cazap, president of the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) and one of the authors of the joint "Global Recommendations on Physical Activity for Health".

UICC and WHO experts estimate based on scientific evidence that around 25 percent of breast and colon cancers could be prevented by undertaking physical activity, while exercise can also affect other types of cancers.

"The dose of physical activity required is 150 minutes a week," WHO health promotion expert Tim Armstrong told journalists.

"Most individuals can accomplish it, it's 30 minutes of moderate effort like walking on five days of the week," he explained.

The WHO ranks lack of physical activity alongside tobacco, diabetes and as a health risk, leading to the deaths of 3.2 million people a year.

"Physical inactivity is the fourth leading risk factor for all global deaths, with 31 percent of the world's population not physically active," said Dr Ala Alwan, WHO assistant director-general for non-communicable diseases and mental health.

Some 460,000 women died as a result of in 2008 while about 610,000 died of colorectal cancers, according to UN health agency data.

Cazap underlined that one person in two is likely to have a cancer in their lifetime, and the probability grows with ageing.

The UICC believes that the problem of physical inactivity is now extending beyond industralised nations to emerging nations where the population is becoming wealthier.

The recommendations were released for World Cancer Day on Friday.

Explore further: Bar attendance supports heavy drinking by young adults in the US-Mexico border region

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

People who exercise lower their risk of colon cancer

Feb 12, 2009

An ambitious new study has added considerable weight to the claim that exercise can lower the risk for colon cancer. Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and Harvard University combined and ...

Recommended for you

Hospital acquisitions leading to increased patient costs

13 hours ago

The trend of hospitals consolidating medical groups and physician practices in an effort to improve the coordination of patient care is backfiring and increasing the cost of patient care, according to a new study led by the ...

Study examines effect of hospital switch to for-profit status

13 hours ago

Hospital conversion from nonprofit to for-profit status in the 2000s was associated with better subsequent financial health but had no relationship to the quality of care delivered, mortality rates, or the proportion of poor ...

Competition keeps health-care costs low, researchers find

13 hours ago

Medical practices in less competitive health-care markets charge more for services, according to a study conducted by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine and the National Bureau of Economic Research.

User comments : 0