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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

BU Study Finds Link between Exercise and Cancer Incidence in Black Women

Regular exercise, including brisk walking, is associated with a decrease in the incidence of breast cancer in African American women, according to a new study led by Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researchers.

The researchers relied on a large prospective study of the health of Black women, the Black Women’s Health Study (BWHS), which collected information about exercise habits, such as time spent exercising per week and type of exercise. The study followed more than 44,000 African American women over a span of 16 years and observed whether they developed breast cancer.

The research team found that women who exercised vigorously for seven or more hours each week were 25 percent less likely to develop breast cancer, compared to those who exercised less than one hour each week. Examples of vigorous activity include basketball, swimming, running, and aerobics. The results were similar if women walked briskly; there was no benefit for walking at normal pace. The results did not differ by the estrogen receptor status of the breast cancer.

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