Table 3

Recommendations for research in physical activity and cancer prevention

Research areasRecommendations
Physical activity assessment methodsComprehensive measures of activity that include all types of activity, all parameters of activity (i.e., frequency, intensity, and duration) for entire lifetimes.
Develop and test validity and reliability of methods including self-administered versus interview-administered methods.
Develop methods that are sensitive to different population groups.
Improve early life recall methods.
Develop more standardized approaches across different assessment methods.
Etiological studiesObservational epidemiological studies that measure physical activity in a comprehensive manner, which include biological mechanisms relevant to individual cancer sites and that examine different study populations.
Complete assessment of confounding to assess how physical activity relates to other risk factors including obesity, dietary intake, other lifestyle risk factors, and genetic predisposition.
Examination of population subgroups (effect modification).
Cancer sites to be studied: breast, prostate, lung, testes, endometrium, and ovary.
Intervention studiesRandomized controlled trials of colon and breast cancers to determine the efficacy and effectiveness of various strategies to reduce risk.
Steps to be followed include: identifying high-risk populations, examining several endpoints, conducting small pilot studies and small scale clinical trials, replicating the results in different populations, and then conducting large-scale studies.
Biological mechanismsResearch focused on identifying which mechanisms and how and when they are operative.
Identify and test intermediate endpoints (i.e. biomarkers) for the association between physical activity and cancer risk and used in intervention studies.
Behavioral researchStudies of determinants of behavior and how these behaviors change over time and how they are inter-related.
Studies of diffusion and dissemination of physical activity guidelines.
Surveillance researchTrack secular changes in physical activity and changes in cancer incidence.
Health policy researchStudies of how policy, environmental, and organizational interventions influence physical activity habits.