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Approved research

Objectively assessed physical activity, physical fitness and risk of cancer

Principal Investigator: Dr Sebastian Baumeister
Approved Research ID: 24091
Approval date: December 15th 2016

Lay summary

Physical activity reduces risk of cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality, as well as risk of breast, colon, and endometrial cancers. The evidence is weaker for other cancers. Some of the knowledge gaps have resulted from imprecise assessment of self-reported physical activity. The value of objectively assessed physical activity and fitness for the prediction of cancer risk has received little attention. We propose to examine associations of the UK Biobank?s physical activity questionnaire and objective measurements of physical activity (accelerometer) and fitness (cardiorespiratory fitness, muscle strength) with cancer risk. In line with the UK Biobank?s overall goal to ?provide lifestyle, environmental and health follow-up data? to ?improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of illness and the promotion of health throughout society?, the project will to deepen the causal understanding of physical activity and fitness as a primary cause of cancer. In this prospective analysis, baseline and repeat assessments of self-reported physical activity, movement sensor data, cardiorespiratory fitness, and muscle strength will be associated with overall cancer risk (and major cancer types). The predictive capacity of these exposures will be compared. Cardiorespiratory fitness and muscle strength will be regarded as intermediate variables linking physical activity and cancer. Analyses will be based on participants who provided valid data on cancer incidence or mortality and baseline or follow-up data on at least one of the following: self-reported physical activity (n= 498,135), accelerometry (n=103,720), grip strength (n= 495,786), and cardiorespiratory fitness (n= 67,702).