Determinants of adherence to physical activity guidelines among overweight and obese African American breast cancer survivors: Implications for an intervention approach

Selina A. Smith, Benjamin E. Ansa, Wonsuk Yoo, Mary S. Whitehead, Steven S. Coughlin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations


Objective: Public health agencies encourage breast cancer survivors (BCSs) to follow their physical activity guidelines (PAGs). However, adherence to these guidelines is low. African American (AA) BCSs are more often overweight or obese and less likely than women of other races to report adherence to physical activity recommendations. This study examined socioeconomic, clinical, and psychosocial correlates with meeting PAGs. Design: AA women diagnosed and treated for breast cancer and participating in a breast cancer support group (N = 193) completed a lifestyle assessment tool capturing demographic characteristics; breast cancer diagnosis and treatment history; health-related quality of life; weight history, including body mass index and post-diagnosis weight gain; and physical activity. Logistic regressions were used to determine if these covariates were associated with meeting [>8.3 metabolic equivalent task (MET) hr/wk]; partially meeting (4.15-8.3 MET hr/wk); or not meeting (<4.15 MET hr/wk) PAGs. Results: Only 54% of AA BCSs reported meeting current PAGs. Participants reporting weight gain of ≤5 lbs post-diagnosis, and those who received surgical treatment for breast cancer were more likely to complete at least 8.3 MET hr/wk. Better physical functioning and lesser pain intensity were associated with meeting PAGs. Conclusion: Several factors influence physical activity behaviors and are likely to be important in developing effective interventions to assist AA survivors manage their weight. It is essential that providers and breast cancer support groups that assist survivors to remain physically active and to manage their weight should be aware of these factors. These findings may help generate hypotheses for future research to undergird efforts to increase physical activity among African American BCSs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)194-206
Number of pages13
JournalEthnicity and Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 15 2018



  • Adherence
  • African Americans
  • Body mass index
  • Breast cancer survivors
  • Health-related quality of life
  • Physical activity guidelines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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