Walking an hour a day cuts breast cancer risk

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WOMEN who walk for an hour a day can cut their chance of breast cancer by 14 per cent, experts have said.

While it is well known that being active cuts risk of the disease, this is the first study to specifically look at the effect of walking.

The American Cancer Society study involved 73,615 postmenopausal women, of whom 4,760 were diagnosed with breast cancer during a 17-year follow-up.

The researchers found that moderate activity in the form of walking an hour a day was associated with a 14 per cent lower risk of the disease compared to women who were least active.

Among all women in the group, 47 per cent said walking was their only recreational activity and women were far more likely to take part in walking, dancing or aerobics than vigorous activities like running, swimming, and tennis.

Among those women who reported walking as their only activity, those who walked at least seven hours per week had a 14 per cent lower risk of breast cancer compared to those who walked three or fewer hours per week.

The study also found that women who took part in more vigorous activities for an hour a day had a 25 per cent lower risk of breast cancer than the least active, which echoed findings in other studies.

Dr Alpa Patel, senior epidemiologist at the American Cancer Society in Atlanta, Georgia, said: “Our results clearly support an association between physical activity and postmenopausal breast cancer, with more vigorous activity having a stronger effect.”