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Large study finds that 30+ minutes of daily physical activity significantly reduces cancer mortality

In a prospective study of over 8000 older adults published in JAMA Oncology, researchers Gilchrist et al found that a greater amount of sedentary time was associated with a higher risk of cancer mortality. Replacing sedentary time with light- or moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity was associated with reduced cancer mortality risk.

At the five-year follow-up, the researchers found an association between lower daily activity and a greater risk of dying from cancer. Over all, the more people moved during the day, the lower their risk. In fact, the most sedentary individuals — who, as a group, were inactive an average of 11 hours out of a 16-hour day — had an 82% higher risk of cancer death compared with the least sedentary people.

The study did not track specific types of movement, like the number of steps or particular exercises. Still, the researchers suggested that adding at least 30 minutes of any kind of activity throughout the day might help counter the potential danger from too much sitting.