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The Impact of Cancer and Its Treatment on Physical Activity Levels and Behavior in Hong Kong Chinese Childhood Cancer Survivors

Chung, O.K. Joyce MPH, RN; Li, Ho Cheung William PhD, RN; Chiu, Sau Ying MN, RN; Ho, Ka Yan Eva MPhil, RN; Lopez, Violeta PhD, RN

doi: 10.1097/NCC.0b013e3182980255

Background: Research indicates that regular physical activity is associated with numerous physiological and psychological health benefits for childhood cancer survivors. A review of the literature reveals that no study has so far examined the physical activity levels and behavior of Hong Kong Chinese childhood cancer survivors, and how the cancer and its treatment affect the physical activity and other behavior of these children remains unclear.

Objective: The aims of this study were to assess the physical activity levels of Hong Kong Chinese childhood cancer survivors and to explore the factors that affect their adherence to and maintenance of regular physical activity.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was used. A total of 128 childhood cancer survivors (9–16-year-olds) who underwent medical follow-up in the outpatient clinic were invited to participate in the study.

Results: There was a significant decline in physical activity levels among childhood cancer survivors. Most of them did not take physical exercise regularly. Concern about academic performance, fatigue, and a decrease in physical strength and endurance after remission prevented them from engaging in regular physical activity.

Conclusions: This study indicates that many childhood cancer survivors did not engage in regular physical activity and that they overlooked or underestimated its importance.

Implications for Practice: It is essential for nurses to correct misconceptions about physical activity among childhood cancer survivors and their parents and, most importantly, to advocate the principle of regular physical activity for these children, with the aim of enhancing their physical and psychological well-being.

Author Affiliations: School of Nursing, Lee Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, the University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong (Mss Chung and Ho and Dr Li); Paediatric Oncology Unit, Queen Mary Hospital, Hong Kong, China (Ms Chiu); Research Centre for Nursing and Midwifery Practice, Nursing and Midwifery Practice, Australian National University, Woden, Australia (Dr Lopez).

The authors have no funding or conflicts of interest to disclose.

Correspondence: Ho Cheung William Li, PhD, RN, School of Nursing, Lee Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, the University of Hong Kong, 4/F, William M.W. Mong Block, 21 Sassoon Road, Pokfulam, Hong Kong (

Accepted for publication April 17, 2013.

© 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins