Self-reported breast size, exercise habits and BREAST-Q data – an international cross-sectional study of community runners

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Abstract

Women with larger breasts tend not to participate in high-intensity exercise and exercise less frequently. This study investigates how breast size impacts exercise habits and how breast reduction surgery changes women's participation in recreational exercise. Recruitment was generated via parkrun Limited (Richmond, UK), an organization offering weekly community-based runs. Female parkrun members aged over 18 years with no history of breast cancer were invited to complete a survey, including questions about their exercise habits, breast size, any breast alteration surgery, and BREAST-Q questionnaires. A total of 1987 women completed the survey, including 56 women who had undergone breast reduction. Results demonstrate that women with bigger breasts believe that reducing their breast size would improve their exercise performance and participation and that their breast size significantly impacts their type of exercise. Women who had undergone breast reduction reported increased overall frequency, enjoyment, and willingness to exercise in a group. Additionally, women that have undergone breast reduction report higher BREAST-Q scores than their non-surgical counterparts. This study supports the existing literature that breast size can impact exercise habits and demonstrates that women who have undergone breast reduction participate in healthier lifestyle practices. We suggest that if breast size impacts women's participation in sport and fitness, health practitioners and policymakers should advocate for better access to reduction mammoplasty in the publicly funded health sector.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)92-101
Number of pages10
JournalJPRAS Open
Volume37
Early online date11 Jul 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023

Keywords

  • Breast health
  • Breast reduction surgery
  • BREAST-Q
  • Exercise
  • Women's health

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