Higher levels of physical activity may lower the risk of chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS) in middle-aged and older men, a new study suggests.

Ran Zhang, MD, ScD, MPH, of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues conducted a prospective cohort study of men who participated in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study from 1986 to 2008. The study included 20,918 men who filled out questionnaires asking about leisure-time physical activity in 1986 and completed all CP/CPPS questions on a 2008 questionnaire.

Researchers calculated a National Institute of Health Chronic Prostatitis Symptom Index pain score based on responses to the 2008 questionnaire. Men who had a pain score of 8 or higher were considered to have CP/CPPS. This group included 689 men.

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In multivariate analysis, men who had more than 35 MET-h/wk of leisure-time physical activity had 28% decreased odds of CP/CPPS than men whose leisure-time physical activity totaled 3.5 MET-h/wk or less, according to an online report in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

The researchers noted that this study is the first large scale and most comprehensive study to date looking at this association.