Which cancer survivors are at risk for a physically inactive and sedentary lifestyle? Results from pooled accelerometer data of 1447 cancer survivors

M. G. Sweegers, T. Boyle, J. K. Vallance, M. J. Chinapaw, J. Brug, N. K. Aaronson, A. D'Silva, C. S. Kampshoff, B. M. Lynch, F. Nollet, S. M. Phillips, M. M. Stuiver, H. Van Waart, X. Wang, L. M. Buffart, T. M. Altenburg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background: Physical activity has beneficial effects on the health of cancer survivors. We aimed to investigate accelerometer-assessed physical activity and sedentary time in cancer survivors, and describe activity profiles. Additionally, we identify demographic and clinical correlates of physical activity, sedentary time and activity profiles. Methods: Accelerometer, questionnaire and clinical data from eight studies conducted in four countries (n = 1447) were pooled. We calculated sedentary time and time spent in physical activity at various intensities using Freedson cut-points. We used latent profile analysis to identify activity profiles, and multilevel linear regression analyses to identify demographic and clinical variables associated with accelerometer-assessed moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA), sedentary time, the highly active and highly sedentary profile, adjusting for confounders identified using a directed acyclic graph. Results: Participants spent on average 26 min (3%) in MVPA and 568 min (66%) sedentary per day. We identified six activity profiles. Older participants, smokers and participants with obesity had significantly lower MVPA and higher sedentary time. Furthermore, men had significantly higher MVPA and sedentary time than women and participants who reported less fatigue had higher MVPA time. The highly active profile included survivors with high education level and normal body mass index. Haematological cancer survivors were less likely to have a highly active profile compared to breast cancer survivors. The highly sedentary profile included older participants, males, participants who were not married, obese, smokers, and those < 12 months after diagnosis. Conclusions: Cancer survivors engage in few minutes of MVPA and spend a large proportion of their day sedentary. Correlates of MVPA, sedentary time and activity profiles can be used to identify cancer survivors at risk for a sedentary and inactive lifestyle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number66
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 16 2019


  • Activity profiles
  • Cancer survivors
  • Physical activity
  • Profile analysis
  • Sedentary time

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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