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mHealth Interventions to Promote a Healthy Diet and Physical Activity among Cancer Survivors: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials


Background: Technology-based interventions are increasingly used to improve physical activity (PA) and diet. Methods: We conducted a systematic review of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) published up to August 2021 that tested mobile health (mHealth) PA and/or dietary interventions among cancer survivors and reported on the feasibility, satisfaction, behavioral change, and/or quality of life (QOL) outcomes. Results: In total, 61 articles were identified on PubMed, and 23 of those met the inclusion criteria. The most common cancers were breast (n = 1000), prostate (n = 713), and colorectal (n = 650). Participants were predominantly White (median: 84%, interquartile range (IQR): 20%) and college-educated (58%). The interventions varied, but the most common combination of components (six studies) was a website/mobile app with an activity tracker and coaching. In terms of duration, 70% (n = 16) of the interventions lasted 12 weeks. The median total tracker wear was 87% of the study days (IQR: 6%) and the median text-message reply rate was 73% (IQR 4%). Most participants (median: 87%; IQR: 16%) were satisfied with at least one intervention component. Eleven out of 18 studies examining behavioral change reported significant between-group differences and six out of 11 studies examining QoL reported significant improvements. Conclusions: mHealth interventions are a promising approach to improving the PA and diets of cancer survivors. Research in racially/ethnically and socioeconomically diverse populations is needed.

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