A randomized controlled trial of a wearable technology-based intervention for increasing moderate to vigorous physical activity and reducing sedentary behavior in breast cancer survivors: The ACTIVATE Trial

Cancer. 2019 Aug 15;125(16):2846-2855. doi: 10.1002/cncr.32143. Epub 2019 Apr 23.


Background: The benefits of an active lifestyle after a breast cancer diagnosis are well recognized, but the majority of survivors are insufficiently active. The ACTIVATE Trial examined the efficacy of an intervention (use of the Garmin Vivofit 2 activity monitor coupled with a behavioral feedback and goal-setting session and 5 telephone-delivered health coaching sessions) to increase moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and reduce sedentary behavior in breast cancer survivors.

Methods: This randomized controlled trial recruited 83 inactive, postmenopausal women diagnosed with stage I-III breast cancer who had completed primary treatment. Participants were randomly assigned to the intervention group or to the control group, and the intervention was delivered over a 12-week period. MVPA and sedentary behavior were measured with Actigraph and activPAL accelerometers at baseline (T1) and at the end of the intervention (T2).

Results: Retention in the trial was high, with 80 (96%) of participants completing T2 data collection. At T2, there was a significant between-group difference in MVPA (69 min/wk; 95% CI = 22-116) favoring the intervention group. The trial resulted in a statistically significant decrease in both total sitting time and prolonged bouts (≥20 min) of sitting, with between-group reductions of 37 min/d (95% CI = -72 to -2) and 42 min/d (95% CI = -83 to -2), respectively, favoring the intervention group.

Conclusion: Results from the ACTIVATE Trial suggest that the use of wearable technology presents an inexpensive and scalable opportunity to facilitate more active lifestyles for cancer survivors. Whether or not such wearable technology-based interventions can create sustainable behavioral change should be the subject of future research.

Keywords: accelerometry; breast neoplasms; exercise; fitness trackers; randomized controlled trial; sedentary lifestyle; survivors.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Breast Neoplasms* / therapy
  • Cancer Survivors*
  • Exercise Movement Techniques
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Middle Aged
  • Sedentary Behavior*
  • Telephone
  • Wearable Electronic Devices*

Associated data

  • ANZCTR/ACTRN12616000175471