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 25 May 2016

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News

Physical activity and risk of inflammatory bowel disease

A prospective study from the Nursesí Health Study cohorts reported in this week's issue of the British Medical Journal investigates the association between physical activity and risk of inflammatory bowel disease.

News image

Dr Chan and colleagues examined the association between physical activity and risk of ulcerative colitis and Crohnís disease.

The team performed a prospective cohort study of the Nursesí Health Study and Nursesí Health Study II.

There were 194,711 women enrolled in the Nursesí Health Study and Nursesí Health Study II who provided data on physical activity and other risk factors every 2 to 4 years since 1984 in the Nursesí Health Study, and 1989 in the Nursesí Health Study II and followed up through 2010.

The research team's main outcome measure was incident ulcerative colitis and Crohnís disease.

During 3,421,972 person years of follow-up, the team documented 284 cases of Crohnís disease and 363 cases of ulcerative colitis.

The risk of Crohnís disease was inversely associated with physical activity.

Compared with women in the lowest fifth of physical activity, the multivariate adjusted hazard ratio of Crohnís disease among women in the highest fifth of physical activity was 0.6.

The team noted that active women with at least 27 metabolic equivalent task (MET) hours per week of physical activity had a 44% reduction in risk of developing Crohnís disease compared with sedentary women with less than 3 MET h/wk.

The researchers observed that physical activity was not associated with risk of ulcerative colitis.

The absolute risk of ulcerative colitis and Crohnís disease among women in the highest fifth of physical activity was 8 and 6 events per 100,000 person years compared with 11 and 16 events per 100,000 person years among women in the lowest fifth of physical activity, respectively.

The team noted that age, smoking, body mass index, and cohort did not significantly modify the association between physical activity and risk of ulcerative colitis or Crohnís disease.

Dr Chan's team concludes, "In two large prospective cohorts of US women, physical activity was inversely associated with risk of Crohnís disease but not of ulcerative colitis."

BMJ 2013; 347:f6633
09 December 2013

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