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Prevalence of Smoking and Obesity Among U.S. Cancer Survivors: Estimates From the National Health Interview Survey, 2008–2012

Meredith L. Shoemaker
Mary C. White
Nikki A. Hawkins
Nikki S. Hayes
ONF 2016, 43(4), 436-441 DOI: 10.1188/16.ONF.43-04AP

Purpose/Objectives: To describe smoking and obesity prevalence among male and female cancer survivors in the United States.

Design: Cross-sectional survey.

Setting: Household interviews.

Sample: 9,753 survey respondents who reported ever having a malignancy, excluding nonmelanoma skin cancers.

Methods: Data from the National Health Interview Survey (2008–2012) were used to calculate weighted smoking status prevalence estimates. Cross-tabulations of smoking and weight status were produced, along with Wald chi-square tests and linear contrasts.

Main Research Variables: Cancer history, smoking status, obesity status, gender, age, and age at diagnosis.

Findings: Seventeen percent of cancer survivors reported current smoking. Female survivors had higher rates of current smoking than males, particularly in the youngest age category. Male survivors who currently smoked had lower obesity prevalence rates than males who previously smoked or never smoked. Among female survivors, 31% were obese and no significant differences were seen in obesity prevalence by smoking status for all ages combined.

Conclusions: The findings highlight the variation in smoking status and weight by age and gender. Smoking interventions may need to be targeted to address barriers specific to subgroups of cancer survivors.

Implications for Nursing: Nurses can be instrumental in ensuring that survivors receive comprehensive approaches to address both weight and tobacco use to avoid trading one risk for another.

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