How sedentary and physically active are breast cancer survivors, and which population subgroups have higher or lower levels of these behaviors?
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Physical activity (PA) and sedentary behavior may influence the physical and mental health of breast cancer survivors; however, few studies have objectively measured these behaviors in this population. We used accelerometers to measure the PA and sedentary time levels of breast cancer survivors and examined the demographic, behavioral, and medical correlates of these behaviors using two complementary approaches.
A total of 259 breast cancer survivors wore an accelerometer for 7 days during waking hours and completed a questionnaire. We used linear regression and classification trees to investigate correlates of PA and sedentary time.
The breast cancer survivors in this study (mean age = 61 years, mean time since diagnosis = 3 years) were sedentary for a daily average of 8.2 h, in light-intensity PA for 5.8 h and in moderate-to-vigorous intensity PA (MVPA) for 32 min, with 16 % meeting PA guidelines. Participants with high comorbidity were the least likely to be meeting guidelines (0 %), while a subgroup of participants with no/low comorbidity, a university degree, and higher levels of pre-diagnosis MVPA were the most likely to be meeting guidelines (47 %). Older participants (70+ years) were the most likely to have sedentary time levels at least twice as high as activity levels, while participants who were younger than 70 years and not in the lowest category of pre-diagnosis MVPA were the least likely.
Interventions to facilitate physical activity and reduce sedentary time among breast cancer survivors should consider comorbidity status and previous PA experience.
KeywordsCancer Oncology Survivorship Breast cancer Physical activity Sedentary behavior
The ACCEL-Breast study was funded by a project grant from the Breast Cancer Research Centre—Western Australia. The case-control study (the Breast Cancer Environment and Employment Study) was funded by the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (#573530). Terry Boyle is supported by an Early Career Fellowship from the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (#1072266), a Fellowship from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (#300068), a Postdoctoral Fellowship from the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (#5553), and an Honorary Killam Postdoctoral Research Fellowship from Killam Trusts/The University of British Columbia. Jeff Vallance is supported by the Canada Research Chairs program and a Population Health Investigator Award from Alberta Innovates—Health Solutions. Brigid Lynch is supported by an Early Career Fellowship from the National Breast Cancer Foundation. We would like to acknowledge the Chief Investigators of the case-control study (in particular Professor Lin Fritschi from the School of Public Health at Curtin University and Professor Jane Heyworth from the School of Population Health at The University of Western Australia), and Ms Jessica Occleston at the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute for her assistance in data processing. We also sincerely thank the people who took the time to participate in this study.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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