How physically active do Australian and New Zealander childhood cancer survivors perceive themselves? A report from the ANZCHOG survivorship study

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Purpose: Childhood cancer survivors are at risk of treatment late-effects. Physical activity represents a necessary complementary therapy and modifiable risk-factor across all ages for many cardio-metabolic late-effects. This study assessed perceived physical activity in Australian and New Zealander childhood cancer survivors. Methods: We recruited parents of survivors aged <16 years, and adult survivors of childhood cancer aged ≥16 years, ≥5 years since diagnosis, with age-matched controls for comparison. We compared perceived moderate-vigorous physical activity between survivors and controls, using regression to identify associations with physical activity. Results: We recruited 914 participants (570 childhood cancer survivors and 344 age-matched controls). Parents of survivors perceived more moderate-vigorous physical activity than child controls (248 ± 218, 95% Confidence Interval (CI) = 218–280 vs 185 ± 214 min/week, 95% CI = 144–225, p = 0.036), with no perceived difference between adult survivors and controls (125 ± 152, 95% CI = 108–140 vs 160 ± 201 min/week, 95% CI = 132–187, p = 0.477). Twenty-seven percent of child survivors (vs. 14.5% controls) and 30% of adult survivors (vs. 39.4% controls) met recommendations. Adult survivors who received radiotherapy (OR = 0.585, 95% CI = 0.343–0.995, p = 0.048) or not completed university (OR = 1.808, 95% CI = 1.071–3.053, p = 0.027) were less likely to meet recommendations. Conclusions: Over two-thirds of Australian and New Zealander childhood cancer survivors across all ages are perceived to not meet physical activity recommendations. Adult survivors who had radiotherapy or did not complete university appeared at-risk for low physical activity. Practical implications: Physical activity is important for everyone, but critical among childhood cancer survivors due to increased late cardio-metabolic risks. Monitoring survivors’ perceived but also objectively measured physical activity as complementary to routine care is warranted, to provide education and motivate survivors to take control of their health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)196-203
Number of pages8
JournalComplementary therapies in clinical practice
Early online date25 Apr 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2019


  • Chemotherapy
  • Complementary medicine
  • Exercise
  • Physical activity
  • Radiotherapy
  • Survivorship


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