Physical activity (PA) has many health benefits for cancer survivors, but little research has examined patterns and correlates in African American women, who have a higher burden of comorbidities and obesity. We examined PA types and patterns overall and by obesity and comorbidities among long-term (> 5 years) breast cancer survivors.
This cross-sectional study included 323 women who were previous participants of a case-only study in three southeastern states. Women completed a survivorship-focused questionnaire using validated measures to collect data on cancer treatment, PA (recreational, household, transportation) and other lifestyle factors, and comorbidities. Logistic regression models estimated adjusted ORs and 95% CIs for total PA (all three types, categorized as tertiles) and meeting PA guidelines (> 150 min/week of exercise).
The mean age of women was 59.1 years (range 27.9–79.5). The most frequent PA types (≥ 1/month) included routine household cleaning (92.9%), shopping (94.7%), walking slowly (42.1%), and walking briskly (40.6%). Less than 40% met PA guidelines. Women with more total comorbidities, arthritis, and obesity had lower levels of total PA (minutes/week) and/or recreational PA. In adjusted models, BMI ≥ 35 kg/m2 was associated with reduced odds of total PA (OR = 0.33, 95% CI 0.12–0.88, highest tertile). Arthritis was associated with reduced odds of meeting PA guidelines (OR = 0.61, 95% CI 36–1.05).
Close to 60% of African American breast cancer survivors did not meet PA guidelines based on recreational PA participation. Household PA was an important source of PA. Comorbidities and obesity were associated with both reduced total PA and not meeting PA guidelines.