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Many Cancer Survivors Are Overweight and Sedentary: Study
Date:4/21/2008

This, despite research that says proper diet and exercise can keep disease from recurring

MONDAY, April 21 (HealthDay News) -- A healthy lifestyle may help cancer survivors prevent recurrence of the disease and live longer, yet cancer survivors have rates of obesity and physical inactivity similar to those of the general population, according to new research.

The study, published in the June 1 issue of Cancer, found that less than one-quarter of cancer survivors were regularly physically active, and more than 18 percent were obese.

"We thought this might be a time when people would be particularly motivated to exercise and control weight. But, a cancer diagnosis and treatment didn't seem to stimulate behavior change," said the study's lead author, Kerry Courneya, a professor and Canada Research Chair at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada.

What's troubling is that maintaining a healthy weight and getting regular physical exercise may be even more crucial for cancer survivors than it is for the general public. Some studies have suggested that physical activity and losing weight may help prevent cancer recurrence and improve survival odds.

Additionally, some research suggests that exercise can help reduce fatigue, improve physical functioning and improve quality of life for some cancer survivors.

For the study, Courneya and his colleagues gathered data from the Canadian Community Health Survey. This survey contains information based on interviews of more than 114,000 people in Canada. Details of cancer history, weight, height and physical activity were all supplied by the respondents.

General population statistics for Canada find that 37 percent of people are overweight, and 22 percent are obese, according to background information in the study.

Fewer than 22 percent of cancer survivors reported being physically active. The lowest rates of physical a
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