It has long been accepted that regular exercise can assist in helping to prevent or reduce the risk of a multitude of health problems. However, a new study on US audiences published in the Journal of Health Communication, reports that the public respondents to a survey were largely unaware that an insufficient level of exercise can contribute to an increased risk of certain types of cancer, such as colon and breast.
Researchers from Washington University surveyed a diverse sample of 1,161 US participants, oversampling socio-demographically disadvantaged groups, to identify what types of diseases lay audiences believed are caused by insufficient levels of exercise.
They then randomly selected 351 responses – specifically including an open-ended question asking respondents what illnesses are caused by insufficient physical activity.
They found that although there was a high awareness that inadequate levels of physical exercise resulted in an increased risk of cardiovascular (63.5%) and metabolic (65.8%) problems, there was an extremely low level of respondents who associated it with increased risk of cancer (3.4%) and other diseases such as gastrointestinal (0.9%) and respiratory (3.4%).
Lead author of the study and Associate Professor of Surgery at Washington University Erika Waters, commented, “Many people know that
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