Physical activity during adolescence and risk of colorectal adenoma later in life: results from the Nurses’ Health Study II

Leandro Fórnias Machado de Rezende, Dong Hoon Lee, Na Na Keum, Katharina Nimptsch, Mingyang Song, I. Min Lee, José Eluf-Neto, Shuji Ogino, Charles Fuchs, Jeffrey Meyerhardt, Andrew T. Chan, Walter Willett, Edward Giovannucci, Kana Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Physical activity during adulthood has been consistently associated with lower risk of colorectal cancers, but whether physical activity during adolescence may also play a role in colorectal carcinogenesis is unclear. Methods: We included 28,250 women in the Nurses’ Health Study II who provided data on physical activity during adolescence (ages 12–22 years) in 1997 and underwent lower bowel endoscopy (1998–2011). We used logistic regression models for clustered data to examine the association between physical activity during adolescence and risk of adenoma later in life. Results: Physical activity during adolescence was inversely associated with risk of colorectal adenoma (2373 cases), independent of physical activity during adulthood. The multivariable-adjusted odds ratio (OR) of adenoma was 0.89 (95% CI 0.77–1.02; Ptrend = 0.03) comparing women with ≥ 72 metabolic equivalent of tasks-hours/week (MET-h/week) to < 21 MET-h/week. Women with high physical activity during both adolescence (≥53.3 MET-h/week) and adulthood (≥23.1 MET-h/week) had significantly lower risk of adenoma (all adenomas: OR 0.76; 95% CI 0.66–0.88; advanced adenoma: OR 0.61; 95% CI 0.45–0.82) compared to women with low physical activity during both stages of life. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that physical activity during adolescence may lower the risk of colorectal adenoma later in life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)86-94
Number of pages9
JournalBritish journal of cancer
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Jul 2

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: The Nurses’ Health Study II was funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), National Institutes of Health (UM1 CA176726 to WW). Leandro Fórnias Machado de Rezende receives a doctoral fellowship from the Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES) and the Sao Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP), grant #2016/21390–0 and #2014/25614-4. NCI grants R03 CA197879 to KW, R21 CA222940 to K.W. and Reiko Nishihara, R21 CA230873 to K.W. and S.O., R35 CA197735 to S.O., P50 CA127003 to C.S.F. The American Cancer Society (grant number MRSG-17-220-01 – NEC to M.S.). The National Institutes of Health grants K99 CA215314 and R00 CA215314 to M.S. N.K. was supported by grants from the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF-2018R1C1B6008822; NRF-2018R1A4A1022589); the Dongguk University Research Grant of 2017. This work was also in part supported by an Investigator Initiated Grant from the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) to KW.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, Cancer Research UK.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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