The frequency of using wearable activity trackers is associated with minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity among cancer survivors: Analysis of HINTS data

Cancer Epidemiol. 2024 Feb:88:102491. doi: 10.1016/j.canep.2023.102491. Epub 2023 Dec 1.


Background: Despite the health benefits, cancer survivors tend to exercise less after diagnosis and treatment. Wearable activity trackers (WATs) can provide avenues for self-monitoring and may enhance exercise motivation and enjoyment. However, less is known about the relationship between how often survivors use wearables and their amount of moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA).

Methods: Data was utilized from the National Cancer Institute's Health Information National Trend Survey 5 Cycles 3-4 (January 2019 - June 2020). To account for overdispersion and excessive zeros in the outcome variable (weekly minutes of MVPA), a zero inflated negative binomial regression model was used.

Results: The majority of the sample (n = 1369) were female (n = 735, 53.7 %), non-Hispanic White (n = 961, 70.2 %) and 34.3 % (n = 664) were between the ages of 65-74 years. Non-melanoma skin cancer was the most frequently reported cancer type (n = 334, 24.4 %) and 48.5 % (n = 664) reported that it had been 11 + years since their diagnosis. Survivors who reported daily WAT use were estimated to have 3.53 times higher number of MVPA minutes per week compared to survivors who reported non-daily WAT usage (RR: 3.53, 2.76-4.53, p = <0.001). Based on the model, daily WAT users had an expected mean MVPA of 202 min per week (95 % CI: 191.15-226.59) compared to non-daily users (132 min, 95 % CI: 119.81-140.22) and non-WAT users (88 min, 95 % CI: 84.46-92.50).

Conclusion: According to this model, survivors who reported daily WAT use were estimated on average to have weekly MVPA minutes that meet or exceed MVPA recommendations (>= 150 min of MVPA per week) compared to survivors who reported infrequent or no WAT use. Wearables may provide an opportunity for survivors to engage in self-monitoring and can potentially support exercise tracking and engagement.

Keywords: Exercise; MHealth; Survivorship; Trackers; Wearables.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cancer Survivors*
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Fitness Trackers
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neoplasms* / epidemiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires