Associations between physical activity and comorbidities in Korean cancer survivors

Dong Woo Kang, Eun Young Lee, Ki Yong An, Jihee Min, Justin Y. Jeon, Kerry S. Courneya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: To examine the associations between physical activity, metabolic risk factors, and comorbidities in Korean cancer survivors. Methods: We used multiple cross-sectional data sets from the 2007–2013 Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (KNHANES) that included 1225 cancer survivors. Physical activity and comorbidities were self-reported. Metabolic risk factors were measured via blood analyses and included fasting glucose, insulin, total cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure. Results: The sample was 38.4% male with a mean age of 59.9 ± 12.4 years. The most common cancers were stomach (22.5%), cervical (14.6%), breast (14.4%), and colorectal (11.8%). Cancer survivors meeting aerobic physical activity guidelines, compared to those completely inactive, had significantly lower fasting glucose (p =.001), HbA1c (p =.006), and systolic blood pressure (p =.001), and significantly lower risks of hypertension (odds ratio [OR] = 0.55, 95% confidential interval [CI] = 0.32 to 0.93), diabetes (OR = 0.64, 95% CI = 0.43 to 0.95), and arthritis (OR = 0.64, 95% CI = 0.41 to 0.99). Moreover, cancer survivors meeting strength exercise guidelines, compared to those not meeting guidelines, had significantly lower levels of fasting glucose (p =.001), HbA1c (p <.001), and total cholesterol (p =.031), and significantly lower risks of arthritis (OR = 0.42, 95% CI = 0.25 to 0.85) and back pain (OR = 0.50, 95% CI = 0.30 to 0.83). Conclusion: Aerobic physical activity and strength exercise were significantly associated with lower risks of metabolic disturbances and comorbidities in Korean cancer survivors. Implications for Cancer Survivors: Cancer survivors should engage in at least 150 min/week of aerobic exercise and at least 2 days/week of strength exercise to lower their risk of metabolic disturbances and comorbidities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)441-449
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Cancer Survivorship
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Aug 1

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Oncology(nursing)

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