Examines how breast size influences women’s attitudes toward sports

Examines how breast size influences women's attitudes toward sports

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Exercise frequency (over the last 4 weeks; how often did you do at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise?) was grouped by bra cup size. Credit: JPRAS Open (2023). DOI: 10.1016/j.jpra.2023.06.013

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Exercise frequency (over the last 4 weeks; how often did you do at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise?) was grouped by bra cup size. Credit: JPRAS Open (2023). DOI: 10.1016/j.jpra.2023.06.013

Women with larger breasts tend to exercise less and avoid high-intensity sports and a new study finds significantly better participation in recreational group exercise after breast reduction surgery.

The new study published in JPRAS Open further strengthening calls for more accessible and publicly funded breast reduction and other interventions in some cases.

Based on research at Flinders University, the questionnaire was conducted with support from the free community research board Parkrun UK, an organization that aims to promote 5km running and walking events around the world—for all ages and fitness levels.

A survey conducted by nearly 2,000 women involved in Parkrun programs in Australia, England and South Africa found women with larger breasts believed that reducing their breast size would improve their performance and sports participation.

In addition, all 56 women who had undergone breast reduction surgery in the 1987 group of women surveyed reported leading healthier and more active lifestyles.

“Women who had undergone breast reduction reported an increase in the overall frequency, enjoyment and willingness to exercise in the group,” said lead author Dr. Claire Baxter, a clinical registrar in reconstructive surgery at Flinders Medical Center.

“Our study found that breast size influenced exercise habits and breast reduction surgery changed people’s desire to exercise.”

Excluding women with a history of breast cancer, this study aimed to investigate how breast size affects women’s exercise habits and how this compares to women who have had breast reduction surgery.

The South Australian study, including Flinders University Associate Professor Nicola Dean, promoted the importance of regular exercise for weight loss and ischemic heart disease and demonstrated barriers to Australian Government subsidies for reduced mammoplasty as specified in the Australian Medicare Benefits Schedule.

“Besides the patient’s need to have macromastia, experiencing pain in the neck-shoulder area, there are a number of country-based requirements for breast reduction,” said Associate Professor Dean.

“For example, there are body mass index (BMI) restrictions in Queensland, Victoria and Tasmania that can lead to waiting times of 12 months or more.”

“In the UK, breast reduction surgery through the National Health Service varies across locations, resulting in a ‘zip code raffle’ as breast reduction is considered a lower priority procedure.”

In addition to a comparison between 5km parkrun competition time and bra size, the BREAST-Q study also looked at cup size satisfaction levels—which showed more self-satisfaction with cup sizes AA, A, B, and C than DD, E, F, G and H. or bigger.

Additionally, life satisfaction and happiness were significantly related to bra size, with cup sizes larger than E reporting lower mean outcomes.

“The benefits of breast reduction surgery need more awareness and academic support,” Dr. Baxter concluded.

Further information:
Claire R. Baxter et al, Self-reported breast size, exercise habits, and BREAST-Q data — an international cross-sectional study of community runners, JPRAS Open (2023). DOI: 10.1016/j.jpra.2023.06.013

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