Association between breast cancer risk and leisure physical activity in a rural cohort population

Shelbie D. Stahr, Gail A. Runnells, Lora J. Rogers, Pearl A. McElfish, Susan A. Kadlubar, L. Joseph Su

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Physical activity has been identified as a modifiable risk factor for breast cancer. Varying definitions of physical activity have made the evaluation difficult to analyze. In a state with high prevalence of obesity and elevated rates of breast cancer incidence and mortality, physical activity may be an important element for risk reduction. Women's participation in physical activity and the relation to breast cancer incidence has rarely been determined in the southern states where obesity are prevalent. Methods: Associations between various levels of physical activity and incident breast cancer cases among 21,665 subjects residing in Arkansas from 2007-2018 were completed. Multivariate logistic regression was used to estimate the odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI), adjusting for various risk factors such as age, alcohol use, education, region, ethnicity, age at menarche, ever had children, and history of breastfeeding and family history of breast cancer. Stratification on menopausal status was performed to observe any breast cancer differences within the different biological pathways. Results: Among premenopausal subjects, inverse associations were observed among increase time in walking (OR =0.63, 95% CI: 0.36-1.11 and OR =0.47, 95% CI: 0.26-0.83) and overall weekly physical activity (OR =0.89, 95% CI: 0.50-1.57 and OR =0.52, 95% CI: 0.30-0.90) and breast cancer. No association was evident between the risk for breast cancer and physical activity among postmenopausal subjects. The relationship between physical activity and risk for breast cancer differed between menopausal statuses. The most apparent association was seen among premenopausal subjects with an increase in walking (P=0.01). Conclusions: Although physical activity has been demonstrated to have a beneficial effect on breast cancer prevention among postmenopausal women, results from this study do not sufficiently support the hypothesis in this population. Results varied among menopausal status as well as among different definitions of physical activity. Further investigation is needed to identify factors contributing to de-attenuating the relationships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S366-S377
JournalTranslational Cancer Research
StatePublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Breast neoplasms
  • Cohort
  • Disparities
  • Physical activity
  • Rural

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Association between breast cancer risk and leisure physical activity in a rural cohort population'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this