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Exercise in Adolescence May Cut Risk of Deadly Brain Tumor
Date:10/6/2009

Physical activity later in life didn't seem to matter, study finds

TUESDAY, Oct. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Exercising during adolescence may help guard against a deadly form of brain tumor in adulthood, new research suggests.

The study also found that avoiding obesity during the teen years was associated with a lower risk of developing the cancerous brain tumors called gliomas, while being tall increased the chances of such malignancies.

The study appears in the Nov. 1 issue of Cancer Research.

Gliomas are the most common type of brain and central nervous system cancers, accounting for 80 percent of cases, according to background information in the study. Gliomas cause 13,000 deaths in the United States each year.

Though little is known about why people develop the tumors or who is at risk, previous research has hinted that "early life exposures" may increase the risk of developing the cancer in adulthood, said study author Steven C. Moore, a research fellow in the Nutritional Epidemiology Branch of the U.S. National Cancer Institute. Studies have shown that people who are left-handed, for example, are at higher risk of the disease.

In the current research, Moore and his colleagues examined data on nearly 500,000 men and women aged 50 to 71 participating in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study, which included questionnaires on height and weight at various points during their lives.

Those who'd reported doing substantial amounts of light, moderate and vigorous exercise between the ages 15 and 18 were 36 percent less likely to develop glioma than those who were sedentary. Activities included walking, aerobics, biking, swimming, running, heavy housework or gardening.

The researchers also found that those who were obese during their teen years had a three to four times greater risk of developing glioma than those of a normal weight. Because only 11 people who developed glioma w
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