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Hematology - Oncology - Pediatrics and Child Health - Public Health and Epidemiology

Daily Physical Activities and Sports in Adult Survivors of Childhood Cancer and Healthy Controls: A Population-Based Questionnaire Survey
Published: Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Author: Corina S. Rueegg et al.

by Corina S. Rueegg, Nicolas X. von der Weid, Cornelia E. Rebholz, Gisela Michel, Marcel Zwahlen, Michael Grotzer, Claudia E. Kuehni, for the Swiss Paediatric Oncology Group (SPOG)


Healthy lifestyle including sufficient physical activity may mitigate or prevent adverse long-term effects of childhood cancer. We described daily physical activities and sports in childhood cancer survivors and controls, and assessed determinants of both activity patterns.

Methodology/Principal Findings

The Swiss Childhood Cancer Survivor Study is a questionnaire survey including all children diagnosed with cancer 1976–2003 at age 0–15 years, registered in the Swiss Childhood Cancer Registry, who survived =5years and reached adulthood (=20years). Controls came from the population-based Swiss Health Survey. We compared the two populations and determined risk factors for both outcomes in separate multivariable logistic regression models. The sample included 1058 survivors and 5593 controls (response rates 78% and 66%). Sufficient daily physical activities were reported by 52% (n?=?521) of survivors and 37% (n?=?2069) of controls (p<0.001). In contrast, 62% (n?=?640) of survivors and 65% (n?=?3635) of controls reported engaging in sports (p?=?0.067). Risk factors for insufficient daily activities in both populations were: older age (OR for =35years: 1.5, 95CI 1.2–2.0), female gender (OR 1.6, 95CI 1.3–1.9), French/Italian Speaking (OR 1.4, 95CI 1.1–1.7), and higher education (OR for university education: 2.0, 95CI 1.5–2.6). Risk factors for no sports were: being a survivor (OR 1.3, 95CI 1.1–1.6), older age (OR for =35years: 1.4, 95CI 1.1–1.8), migration background (OR 1.5, 95CI 1.3–1.8), French/Italian speaking (OR 1.4, 95CI 1.2–1.7), lower education (OR for compulsory schooling only: 1.6, 95CI 1.2–2.2), being married (OR 1.7, 95CI 1.5–2.0), having children (OR 1.3, 95CI 1.4–1.9), obesity (OR 2.4, 95CI 1.7–3.3), and smoking (OR 1.7, 95CI 1.5–2.1). Type of diagnosis was only associated with sports.


Physical activity levels in survivors were lower than recommended, but comparable to controls and mainly determined by socio-demographic and cultural factors. Strategies to improve physical activity levels could be similar as for the general population.