Purpose/Objectives: To determine childhood cancer survivors' barriers to increasing exercise and consuming less fat and more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and calcium-rich foods.
Design: Mailed survey.
Setting: Cases from a comprehensive cancer center.
Sample: Convenience sample of 144 childhood cancer survivors aged 13-35 years identified through previous research. Surveys were returned by 118 participants (82% response rate).
Methods: Descriptive statistics with chi-square tests were performed between subgroups defined by age (< 18 years and ≤ 18 years) and diagnosis (leukemia, lymphoma, and central nervous system cancers).
Main Research Variables: Barriers to exercise, consuming less fat, and eating more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and calcium-rich foods.
Findings: Proportionately more childhood cancer survivors reported barriers to exercise and following a low-fat diet than to consuming more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and calcium-rich foods. Primary barriers to exercise included being too tired (57%), being too busy (53%), and not belonging to a gym (48%), whereas barriers for restricting high-fat foods were commercials that make high-fat foods look so appealing (58%) and having friends who eat a lot of high-fat foods (50%). Difficulty associated with ordering healthy foods when dining out also was a leading barrier to following a low-fat diet (50%), as well as eating more whole grains (31%), fruits and vegetables (30%), and calcium-rich foods (15%).
Conclusions: Childhood cancer survivors report several barriers to exercise and consuming a low-fat diet with more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and calcium-rich foods.
Implications for Nursing: This study's findings may be helpful to nurses, health educators, and allied health professionals in developing effective interventions that promote healthful lifestyle change among childhood cancer survivors.