The results of a recent study¹ in the US indicates that exercising regularly can significantly reduce the risk of Crohn’s Disease. Given that Australia has one of the highest incidences of the disease, health experts are saying it’s crucial that we get more Australians exercising, a habit which begins in childhood.
Crohn’s Disease is a chronic condition that affects the digestive tract and causes abdominal pain, diarrhoea and a broad range of other symptoms such as fever and weight loss. While people of all ages are susceptible to developing Crohn’s Disease, its onset was most common in people aged between 15 and 30, often causing disruption to education and employment.
Approximately 75,000 Australians are currently affected by Crohn’s Disease and/or Ulcerative Colitis which are both non-contagious inflammatory bowel diseases, the causes of which are unknown.
Chief Executive Officer of Crohn’s & Colitis Australia (CCA), Francesca Manglaviti said, that while more studies were required in this area, it was encouraging to see research that explored the connection between exercise and the onset of Crohn’s Disease.
“As physical exercise has so many other health benefits such as reducing stress, anxiety and depression which are all risks for people with inflammatory bowel diseases, promoting exercise can only be positive,” she said.
The results of the study published in the British Medical Journal, found that increased physical activity lowered the risk of Crohn’s Disease but not Ulcerative Colitis.
Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA) Executive Officer Anita Hobson-Powell said, “Considering 66.9 per cent of Australians aged 15 and over were considered sedentary or recorded low levels of exercise in 2011-12², it’s crucial that we take steps to get Australians in the habit of exercising regularly.”
“As a nation, we not only need to increase existing physical activity levels, but also instil a love of exercise in future generations,” Ms Hobson-Powell said.
“If regular physical activity is introduced to children at a young age, they are more likely to carry these positive habits into adulthood and lead healthier lives.”
1. Physical activity and risk of inflammatory bowel disease: prospective study from the Nurses’ Health Study cohorts, http://www.bmj.com/content/347/bmj.f6633.pdf%2Bhtml.
2. Australian Health Survey: Physical Activity, 2011-12, http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/4364.0.55.004main+features12011-12.