Purpose: Cancer survivors have increased risk for adverse health effects, but the risk can be reduced by adopting a healthy lifestyle. Knowledge of lifestyle in terms of physical activity (PA), diet (intake of fruit and vegetables [F&V]) and smoking behaviors of cancer survivors enrolled in an inpatient educational program and identification of subgroups not meeting the lifestyle guidelines are needed to set up more targeted programs.
Methods: We invited 862 cancer survivors, ≥18 years, diagnosed within the last 10 years and about to attend a 1-week educational program, to participate in this cross-sectional study. Sixty-seven percent (n = 576) returned the questionnaire before the start of the program. PA, F&V intake (5-A-Day) and smoking behaviors were self-reported. Logistic regression analyses were used to identify the characteristics of those not meeting the guidelines.
Results: Sixty-three percent were women, median age was 60 years (range 28-83), 52 % had high education and median time since diagnosis was 12 months (range 2-119). Fifty-five percent did not meet the PA guidelines, 81 % did not meet the 5-A-Day guidelines and 12 % were current smokers. In multivariate analyses, age ≥60 years and low education were associated with not meeting the PA guidelines, and male gender and low education were associated with not meeting the 5-A-Day guidelines. Living alone was associated with smoking.
Conclusions: The majority of cancer survivors attending an educational program do not meet the public guidelines for PA and diet. Special attention should be given to those who are male, over age 60 years and with low education.
Keywords: Cancer survivors; Educational program; Lifestyle; Physical activity; Rehabilitation.