Physical activity

Probable: The factor is likely to be associated with increased or decreased risk of endometrial cancer, but the evidence is not as strong as for convincing. Decreases risk

Physical activity is probably associated with a decreased risk of endometrial cancer.

The risk of endometrial cancer in women who do high levels of vigorous physical activity is about 20% lower than in women who are not physically active. Studies have shown similar results, regardless of the type of physical activity the woman does (recreational or work activity, household tasks, walking or biking). The decrease in risk associated with physical activity is mainly seen among overweight and obese women.

It is estimated that about 6% of cases of endometrial cancer in Australia are due to women doing less than the recommended weekly amount of 300 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity.

There are several ways in which physical activity could lower the risk of endometrial cancer. This includes lowering the level of the female hormone oestrogen and other hormones such as insulin in the body. The association between physical activity and endometrial cancer may in part be due to the fact that higher levels of physical activity can lower the body mass index (BMI).

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Recommended levels of physical activity in Australia are at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity per week to help improve blood pressure, cholesterol, heart health and muscle and bone strength. This should be increased to 300 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity or 150 minutes of vigorous intensity physical activity per week for greater health benefits and to help prevent cancer and unhealthy weight gain.