Anglia Ruskin University

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Digital health behaviour change interventions targeting physical activity and diet in cancer survivors: a systematic review and meta-analysis

journal contribution
posted on 2023-09-01, 14:09 authored by Anna L. Roberts, Abigail Fisher, Lee Smith, Malgorzata Heinreich, Henry W. W. Potts
Purpose: The number of cancer survivors has risen substantially due to improvements in early diagnosis and treatment. Health behaviours such as physical activity (PA) and diet can reduce recurrence and mortality, and alleviate negative consequences of cancer and treatments. Digital behaviour change interventions (DBCIs) have the potential to reach large numbers of cancer survivors. Methods: We conducted a systematic review and meta-analyses of relevant studies identified by a search of Medline, EMBASE, PubMed and CINAHL. Studies which assessed a DBCI with measures of PA, diet and/or sedentary behaviour were included. Results: 15 studies were identified. Random effects meta-analyses showed significant improvements in moderate-vigorous PA (7 studies; mean difference (MD) = 41 minutes per week; 95% CI: 12, 71) and body mass index (BMI)/weight (standardised mean difference (SMD) = -0.23; 95% CI: -0.41, -0.05). There was a trend toward significance for reduced fatigue and no significant change in cancer-specific quality of life (QoL). Narrative synthesis revealed mixed evidence for effects on diet, generic QoL and self-efficacy and no evidence of an effect on mental health. Two studies suggested improved sleep quality. Conclusions: DBCIs may improve PA and BMI among cancer survivors and there is mixed evidence for diet. The number of included studies is small and risk of bias and heterogeneity was high. Future research should address these limitations with large, high-quality RCTs, with objective measures of PA and sedentary time. Implications for cancer survivors: Digital technologies offer a promising approach to encourage health behaviour change among cancer survivors.



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Journal of Cancer Survivorship





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  • Accepted version


  • eng

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ARCHIVED Faculty of Science & Technology (until September 2018)

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