In a study involving more than 83,000 participants in Harvard's Nurses' Health Study, researchers found a strong association between a high level of physical activity and a reduced risk for colon cancer. Researchers used a measure called metabolic equivalents, or METs, to assess physical activity levels. Women who reported 21 MET hours per week—equivalent to about seven hours per week of brisk walking—were half as likely to develop colon cancer as those who got only two MET hours per week (equivalent to walking slowly for one hour per week).
The chart below lists the number of METs used per hour during various types of physical activities. For more information about METs and physical activity, go to prevention.sph.sc.edu/tools/compendium.htm.
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