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Understanding and Supporting Health-Promoting Behaviors of African American Cancer Survivors

Physical activity (PA) after the completion of cancer treatment has been associated with a number of positive outcomes, including improved physical functioning, decreased fatigue, and better quality of life1,2. Adequate nutrition and healthy eating (HE) after cancer treatment has been associated with improved symptom management, decreased cancer recurrence, and reduced mortality3. These benefits are particularly evident among survivors of breast3,4 and colorectal cancers5,6. While many cancer survivors make renewed commitments to health and wellbeing when treatment ends7,8, they often report lower rates of PA 9 and lower dietary quality10 compared to non-cancer survivor populations. Colorectal cancer treatment, in particular, may lead to dietary and nutritional changes that may be challenging for survivors to manage in a social context11. Moreover, some data indicate that African American (AA) cancer survivors are less likely to meet PA guidelines12,13 and more likely to consume diets lower in fruits and vegetables and higher in fat and sugar14 compared to white survivors. Increased understanding of the contextual and interpersonal barriers and facilitators to PA+HE among AA cancer survivors are necessary for developing tailored interventions for this population.

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