An hour of exercise a week may reduce colon polyp risk

As little as one hour of low-intensity exercise a week could reduce the risk of colon polyps among people of various racial and ethnic groups, a study finds.

The study, presented recently at the Digestive Disease Week meeting in Chicago, analyzed data on 982 patients who underwent colonoscopies. Polyps were found in 29.5% of the study subjects. Patients who hadn’t exercised at least one hour a week had a polyp prevalence of 33.2%, while the prevalence rate among those who did exercise one hour or more was 25.3%.

A minimum of one hour a week of exercise proved protective against adenomas (a benign tumor developed from glandular cells) and advanced adenomas for participants with a body mass index of 25 or higher. A BMI of 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight, while 30 and higher is considered obese.

The test subjects represented a range of ethnic and racial groups: 56.8% were Hispanic, 20.6% were Asian American, 15.2% were African American and 7% were Caucasian. The majority of people--61.4%--had a BMI of 25 or higher.


When researchers from New York University Langone Medical Center controlled for such variables as age, sex, race and BMI, one hour or more a week of exercise was still linked with a reduced risk of colon polyps compared with those who didn’t exercise as much.