Physical activity & cancer research findings

Our researchers have explored the effect of physical activity on cancer, and how it might interact with diet & nutrition

Below are the results from some of the research we have funded.


LiveWell - development and feasibility of an intensive lifestyle intervention programme for the secondary prevention of colorectal cancer

Annie Anderson, at the University of Dundee in Scotland, investigated whether a lifestyle intervention which has been shown to influence diabetes risk might also effect the health of colorectal cancer survivors.

The research found that there is an interest amongst colorectal cancer survivors in participating in lifestyle change and associated research. Outcome results indicated desirable change in impact and outcome.


Exploring the pathways between environmental and individual factors in the explanation of overweight and obesogenic behaviours

Johannes Brug, at the VU University Medical Center in the Netherlands, looked at the link between social environmental factors and energy balance-related behaviours and weight status.

This research found adolescent overweight behaviours to be associated with family rules to limit overweight promoting behaviours and home availability of TVs and sports equipment.  Among adults, neighbourhood characteristics were associated with physical activity; social environment was associated with walking and fruit intake; and availability of sports facilities was associated with physical activity.


The effect of physical activity and weight-related factors on endogenous sex hormones in postmenopausal women: understanding independent and joint roles

Karen Steindorf, at the German Cancer Research Centre, looked at how physical activity and body composition affects sex concentrations in postmenopausal women.

The research found that weight-related factors (BMI, waist and hip circumference, and waist-to- hip ratio) showed negative associations with sex hormone-binding globulin concentration, and positive associations with all hormones except androstenedione. Higher levels of sports activity were significantly associated with lower levels of estrone and testosterone, it was suggested that this effect is largely mediated by changes in body composition. The grant did not support the hypothesis that the effect of physical activity on hormone levels may differ across levels of weight-related factors.


Personal and environmental determinants of eating behaviours and obesity in adolescents

Ashley Cooper, at the University of Bristol in England, investigated whether there is a link between the physical environment and children’s physical activity.

This research found children who spend more time outdoors, use a physically active form of travel to school, and those who have greater independent mobility (being allowed to go to places without an adult) are more physically active.


The acceptability and feasibility of a diet and physical activity intervention to prevent recurrence in colorectal cancer survivors

Judy Ho, at the University of Hong Kong, looked into establishing a feasible dietary and physical activity intervention programme to reduce colorectal cancer recurrence through lowering red meat and processed meat consumption and increasing physical activity.

The research found that bowel cancer survivors are willing to undergo lifestyle changes, however, they only have a limited knowledge about the influence of lifestyle factors on their cancer outlook. The project identified possible factors to encourage patients to change their dietary and physical activity habits. Based on the findings, the research team devised and field-tested the planned programme so that it could be tested on a wider scale in a future study. Improving knowledge about the roles of dietary and physical activity habits in improving cancer outlook is essential for the success of this lifestyle-changing programme.