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Daily Strolls Cut Breast Cancer Risk By 14 Pct

Update Date: Oct 04, 2013 12:33 PM EDT

Walking for an hour a day significantly reduces the risk of breast cancer in women.

New research reveals that women who engaged in at least an hour of vigorous physical activity every day had a 25 percent lower risk of developing breast cancer than the least active women in the study.

However, researchers also found that women who walked for at least seven hours a week had a 14 percent lower risk for breast cancer.

While previous studies found that active lifestyles cut women's risk of breast cancer, the latest study is the first to focus on moderate exercises like walking.

The study involved 73,615 postmenopausal women. Overall, 4,760 women were diagnosed with breast cancer during the 17-year follow-up. Researchers accounted for factors like weight, whether or not the women used hormone replacement therapy and the amount of time the women spent sitting.

The findings revealed that women who engaged in vigorous physical activity and walking for at least an hour a day were significantly less likely to develop breast cancer compared to those who did the least exercise.

"Current guidelines recommend that adults should strive to get at least 2.5 hours per week of moderate-intensity activity, or 75 minutes per week of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity for overall health. Higher levels of activity may provide greater benefit for breast cancer prevention," lead researcher Dr. Alpa Patel, senior epidemiologist at the American Cancer Society, said in a news release.

"Our findings are particularly relevant, as people struggle with conflicting information about how much activity they need to stay healthy," Patel said.

"Without any other recreational physical activities, walking on average of at least one hour per day was associated with a modestly lower risk of breast cancer. More strenuous and longer activities lowered the risk even more," he added.

The findings are published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention.

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