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Obesity, physical activity, and dietary behaviors in an ethnically-diverse sample of cancer survivors with early onset disease.

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To assess weight status, physical activity, and dietary behaviors in an ethnically-diverse sample of breast and colorectal cancer survivors with early onset disease (≤ 50 years).


Breast and colorectal cancer survivors, diagnosed between 1999 and 2009 with early-stage cancer diagnosed by 50 years of age, were identified through a population-based cancer registry and surveyed. Descriptive and regression analyses were conducted to characterize the sample and identify correlates of lifestyle behaviors.


The majority of participants (n = 156) were female (83%), insured (84%), and racial/ethnic minorities (29% Asian, 24% Latino, 15% African American). Participants' mean age at response was 50 years and mean time since diagnosis was 9 years. Over half of survivors were overweight or obese. Few participants reported engaging in regular physical activity (31%) and adhering to minimum guidelines for fruit and vegetable consumption (32%). A substantial proportion of survivors consumed fast food in the past week (75%) and nearly half (48%) reported daily consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages. Lower income was associated with inadequate fruit and vegetable intake. Fast food and sugar-sweetened beverage consumption was significantly higher among racial/ethnic minority survivors compared to non-Latino whites.


High prevalence of overweight and suboptimal adherence to recommended nutrition and physical activity behaviors were observed among cancer survivors with early onset disease. Cancer survivors diagnosed at a young age may benefit from targeted interventions to address overweight and suboptimal nutrition and physical activity.

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