Korean J Intern Med.  2021 Mar;36(Suppl 1):S225-S234. 10.3904/kjim.2019.240.

Physical activity of Korean cancer survivors is associated with age and sex

  • 1Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Hanyang University Guri Hospital, Guri, Korea
  • 2Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Korea
  • 3Department of Internal Medicine, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Korea


This study aimed to assess adherence to physical activity guidelines in cancer survivors and to investigate related factors.
The cross-sectional data of 39,845 community-dwelling participants aged ≥ 20 years (1,254 cancer survivors) in the Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey were analyzed. The age- and sex-stratified prevalence for meeting exercise guidelines was obtained. The correlates of meeting exercise recommendations were evaluated by using complex-sample logistic regression models.
Overall, 36.2% and 20.5% of cancer survivors met the recommendations for aerobic and resistance exercises, respectively. Cancer survivors and noncancer controls had similar low adherence to exercise recommendations in most age and sex groups, except young female cancer survivors (20 to 49 years old) who showed higher engagement in aerobic exercise than female noncancer controls in the same age group. Old cancer survivors (≥ 65 years) were less likely to engage in recommended levels of aerobic exercise than young cancer survivors (odds ratio [OR], 0.44; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.24 to 0.79). Female cancer survivors were less likely to meet resistance exercise guidelines than male cancer survivors (OR, 0.32; 95% CI, 0.21 to 0.50). In addition, cancer survivors with current smoking status and cardiovascular disease were less likely to meet aerobic exercise recommendations.
The prevalence of meeting exercise guidelines are low in Korean cancer survivors and varied by age and sex. Old age is associated with an insufficient level of aerobic exercise, and female sex is associated with low participation in resistance exercise.


Cancer survivors; Exercise; Physical fitness; Age groups; Sex
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