Participation in physical activity can improve the health outcomes of breast cancer survivors. To impact public health, broad-reaching sustainable interventions that promote physical activity are needed.
To evaluate the efficacy of two distance-based interventions for promoting physical activity among breast cancer survivors compared with a standard recommendation control.
Breast cancer survivors who had finished 'active' cancer treatment were eligible to participate. Participants (n = 330) were randomly assigned to receive one of the following mail-delivered interventions: three computer-tailored newsletters, a previously developed breast cancer-specific physical activity booklet or a pamphlet detailing the public health recommendations for physical activity (control). Primary outcomes were self-reported moderate to vigorous aerobic activity and participant's self-reported resistance training activity at 4 months post-baseline. Secondary outcomes were pedometer step counts, whether or not participants were meeting the physical activity guidelines, time spent in sedentary behaviour, fatigue and health-related quality of life.
Participants randomised into the tailored-print intervention group were three times more likely to commence resistance training and meet the resistance-training guidelines immediately after the intervention than participants allocated to the control group. There were no other significant intervention effects.
Computer-tailored newsletters may be an effective strategy for enhancing resistance-based physical activity among breast cancer survivors. The null findings relating to other outcomes may be due to ceiling effects (in the case of aerobic activity, fatigue and health-related quality of life) or the sensitivity of the measure used (in the case of sitting time). These issues require further exploration.
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