European Journal of Epidemiology

, Volume 34, Issue 5, pp 489–498 | Cite as

Risk of lung cancer and physical activity by smoking status and body mass index, the Norwegian Women and Cancer Study

  • Kristin Benjaminsen BorchEmail author
  • Elisabete Weiderpass
  • Tonje Braaten
  • Merethe Selnes Hansen
  • Idlir Licaj


We aimed to investigate physical activity (PA) and risk of different histological subtypes of lung cancer according to smoking status and body mass index using repeated measurements in a large cohort of women in Norway. The study sample for the multiple imputation analyses consisted of 86,499 and for the complete-case analysis 80,802 women. Repeated measurements of PA level, smoking habits, weight, and height were available for 54,691 women (63.2%), who were included in repeated measurement analyses combined with multiple imputation to address attrition. Cox proportional hazards regression models were used to calculate hazard ratios with 95% confidence intervals. During a median follow-up of 12.9 years, 866 cases of primary lung cancer were identified. We found an inverse association between PA and lung cancer overall. The results were consistent from multiple imputed data analysis to complete-case analysis of PA and possible confounders. We observed a similar trend for adenocarcinoma, but not for squamous cell or small cell carcinomas. Our findings suggest a more pronounced association between lung cancer overall and PA levels in current and former smokers, and in normal-weight and overweight participants with increasing PA levels. The potential of a modifiable lifestyle factor as PA to reduce the risk of lung cancer independently of smoking status is important in public health.


Lung cancer Physical activity Smoking Prospective study Women 



This project received financial support from the Norwegian Extra Foundation for Health and Rehabilitation through EXTRA funds, Grant No. 2012/2/0048-1220048001.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Supplementary material

10654_2018_446_MOESM1_ESM.docx (23 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 22 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Community Medicine, Faculty of Health SciencesUiT, The Arctic University of NorwayTromsöNorway
  2. 2.Department of Medical Epidemiology and BiostatisticsKarolinska InstitutetStockholmSweden
  3. 3.Department of Research, Cancer Registry of NorwayInstitute of Population-Based Cancer ResearchOsloNorway
  4. 4.Genetic Epidemiology Group, Folkhälsan Research Centre, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  5. 5.Department of Clinical ResearchFrançois Baclesse Cancer CentreCaenFrance

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