Physical inactivity and obesity are associated with poorer disease outcomes in several cancer survivor groups. Few studies, however, have provided population-based estimates of these risk factors in cancer survivors and compared them with individuals without a history of cancer. Here such estimates for the Canadian population are reported.
Data were obtained from the 2005 Canadian Community Health Survey consisting of computer-assisted interviews of 114,355 adults representing an estimated 23,285,548 Canadians. Participants self-reported their cancer history, height, and body weight to calculate body mass index and participation in various leisure-time activities.
Fewer than 22% of Canadian cancer survivors were physically active and over 18% were obese. Few differences were observed between cancer survivors and those without a history of cancer except that: 1) prostate cancer survivors were more likely to be active (adjusted odds ratio [OR] = 1.27; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.01–1.59) and less likely to be obese (adjusted OR = 0.71; 95% CI = 0.56–0.90); 2) skin cancer survivors (nonmelanoma and melanoma) were more likely to be active (adjusted OR = 1.33; 95% CI = 1.12–1.59); and 3) obese breast cancer survivors were less likely to be active compared with obese women without a history of cancer (adjusted OR = 0.51; 95% CI = 0.27–0.94).
Canadian cancer survivors have low levels of physical activity and a high prevalence of obesity that, although comparable to the general population, may place them at higher risk for poorer disease outcomes. Population-based interventions to increase physical activity and promote a healthy body weight in Canadian cancer survivors are warranted. Cancer 2008. © 2008 American Cancer Society.