Intrapersonal and social environment correlates of leisure-time physical activity for cancer prevention: a cross-sectional study among Canadian adults

J Phys Act Health. 2014 May;11(4):790-800. doi: 10.1123/jpah.2012-0110.


Background: Little is known about the intrapersonal and social factors associated with sufficient physical activity (PA) for cancer prevention, which is greater than for cardiovascular health.

Methods: 1087 and 1684 randomly selected men and women, age 35-64, completed self-administered questionnaires on PA behavior and psycho-social characteristics. Using gender-stratified logistic regression, we investigated correlates of compliance with Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology PA guidelines for general health (150 min/wk), and the American Cancer Society (ACS; 225 min/wk) and World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research (WCRF/AIRC; 420 min/wk) guidelines for cancer prevention.

Results: Only 39% and 19% of men and women met ACS and WCRF/AICR guidelines, respectively. Self-efficacy, scheduling PA and friend social support were positively correlated with recommended PA for cancer prevention. In men, poor self-rated health and perceived negative outcomes were negatively correlated and hypertension was positively correlated with meeting cancer prevention guidelines. For women, not being married and having a companion for PA were positively correlated with meeting cancer prevention guidelines.

Conclusions: Few adults participate in sufficient PA for cancer risk reduction. Multidimensional public health strategies that incorporate intrapersonal and social factors and are tailored for each gender are needed to promote PA for cancer prevention.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alberta
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Ethnicity
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Exercise / psychology
  • Female
  • Guidelines as Topic
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Leisure Activities*
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Risk Reduction Behavior
  • Self Efficacy
  • Self Report
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Class
  • Social Support*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States