Background: Breast cancer survivors (BCS), particularly Latina BCS, experience weight gain and reduced physical activity (PA) post-treatment increasing the risk for recurrence. There is a lack of evidence on the intensity and type of PA needed to engage cultural subgroups and improve clinical outcomes. This study developed and piloted two non-traditional PA interventions among a diverse sample of BCS.
Methods: Twenty BCS (65% Latina; age 25-75) participated in a 2-arm parallel group-randomized pilot study to test the effects of an 8-week Latin dance and Qigong/Tai Chi intervention on PA and body composition. A seven-day pedometer protocol was used to measure steps/week and a bioelectric impedence scale was used to assess BMI and %body fat. T-tests were used to examine preliminary outcomes across both interventions and within intervention arms.
Results: There were no significant changes in steps/week, BMI, or %body fat across or in each separate intervention. A small effect size for increase in steps/day was found among participants in the Qigong/Tai Chi arm (0.10) and low-to-moderate effect sizes for reductions in % body fat overall (0.36), and separately for participants in Latin dance (0.26) and Qigong/Tai Chi (0.46).
Conclusion: Latin dance and Qigong/Tai Chi are engaging and acceptable PA modalities that are promising for improving PA and body fat among diverse, high-risk BCS. Our findings highlight the need to continue to reach and engage high-risk BCS, including Latina survivors, using novel, culturally-sensitive PA interventions. Future studies should extend and more rigorously test these novel approaches to improving outcomes associated with recurrence.
Keywords: Body composition; Breast cancer survivors; Latin dance; Physical activity; Qigong; Tai chi.
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