Despite proven benefits of physical activity, adults in the United States may not be meeting activity guidelines for aerobic and strength exercise. There is an association between physical activity and reduced cancer risk, and reduced risk of reoccurrence among cancer survivors. This study aims to describe the odds of meeting aerobic, strength, and combined levels of physical activity based on the recommendations of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans among adults in the U.S., making comparisons by cancer status and demographics.
Logistic regression of cross-sectional data from Cycles 4 and 5 of the Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS) was conducted. The independent variables were cancer type, age, race/ethnicity, education level, income, and data year; dependent variables included meeting aerobic, strength, and combined aerobic and strength physical activity guidelines. Analyses were stratified by gender.
Among women, 25.6% who survived all other cancers met aerobic physical activity guidelines of at least 150 minutes of medium intensity or higher levels of physical activity weekly, while 32.4% of breast cancer survivors and 35.6% of those with no cancer history met aerobic guidelines. Female survivors of cancers other than breast cancer compared to those with no cancer history had significantly lower odds (OR = 0.6, p = 0.004) of meeting aerobic physical activity guidelines. Women and men of all age groups compared to those ages 18-34 had lower odds (all p < 0.05) of meeting both aerobic and strength physical activity guidelines. Non-Hispanic Black men compared to white men (OR = 2.5, p < 0.001), high-income women ($75,000 or more per year) compared to those making under $20,000 (OR = 1.5, p = 0.030), and women of all education levels compared to women with less than high school education had higher odds of meeting both aerobic and strength guidelines (all p < 0.05).
Female cancer survivors and older adults have lower odds of meeting physical activity guidelines; exercise interventions targeting these groups may be necessary to address this disparity.