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Oncol Nurs Forum. 2008 Jan;35(1):121-30. doi: 10.1188/08.ONF.121-130.

Childhood cancer survivors' perceived barriers to improving exercise and dietary behaviors.

Author information

  • 1School of Nursing, Duke University, Durham, NC, USA. whitney.arroyave@duke.edu

Abstract

PURPOSE/OBJECTIVES:

To determine childhood cancer survivors' barriers to increasing exercise and consuming less fat and more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and calcium-rich foods.

DESIGN:

Mailed survey.

SETTING:

Cases from a comprehensive cancer center.

SAMPLE:

Convenience sample of 144 childhood cancer survivors aged 13-35 years identified through previous research. Surveys were returned by 118 participants (82% response rate).

METHODS:

Descriptive statistics with chi-square tests were performed between subgroups defined by age (< 18 years and < or = 18 years) and diagnosis (leukemia, lymphoma, and central nervous system cancers).

MAIN RESEARCH VARIABLES:

Barriers to exercise, consuming less fat, and eating more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and calcium-rich foods.

FINDINGS:

Proportionately more childhood cancer survivors reported barriers to exercise and following a low-fat diet than to consuming more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and calcium-rich foods. Primary barriers to exercise included being too tired (57%), being too busy (53%), and not belonging to a gym (48%), whereas barriers for restricting high-fat foods were commercials that make high-fat foods look so appealing (58%) and having friends who eat a lot of high-fat foods (50%). Difficulty associated with ordering healthy foods when dining out also was a leading barrier to following a low-fat diet (50%), as well as eating more whole grains (31%), fruits and vegetables (30%), and calcium-rich foods (15%).

CONCLUSIONS:

Childhood cancer survivors report several barriers to exercise and consuming a low-fat diet with more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and calcium-rich foods.

IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING:

This study's findings may be helpful to nurses, health educators, and allied health professionals in developing effective interventions that promote healthful lifestyle change among childhood cancer survivors.

PMID:
18192161
DOI:
10.1188/08.ONF.121-130
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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