Background It remains unclear whether daily physical activity is associated with DNA damage. This cross-sectional study examined the association between leisure-time physical activity and urinary 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine (8-OH-dG), a biomarker of oxidative DNA damage, or urinary 7-methylguanine (m 7 Gua), a biomarker of methylating DNA damage. Methods Participants included 501 workers (294 men and 207 women), aged 20–65 years, from municipal offices in Japan. Urinary 8-OH-dG and m 7 Gua were measured using column-switching HPLC. Physical activity was evaluated using a self-reported questionnaire. The associations between leisure-time physical activity and urinary DNA damage markers were assessed by multiple linear regression analysis, with stratification by occupational physical activity. Results After adjusting for covariates, leisure-time physical activity showed a suggestive inverse correlation with urinary 8-OH-dG levels (P for trend = 0.06), and a significant inverse association with urinary m 7 Gua levels (P for trend = 0.03). In analysis stratified by occupation, inverse correlations were observed in sedentary workers (walking < 30 min/day at work: P for trend = 0.06 and = 0.03 for urinary 8-OH-dG and m 7 Gua, respectively), but not in physically active workers (walking 30 min/day at work). In analysis for each intensity of leisure-time physical activity, light-intensity exercise was associated with lower levels of urinary 8-OH-dG (P for trend = 0.03), whereas moderate-to-high-intensity exercise was associated with lower levels of urinary m 7 Gua (P for trend = 0.02). Conclusions Our results suggest that high levels of leisure-time physical activity are associated with decreased levels of DNA damage in individuals with low physical activity at work.
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