Home-based diet and exercise intervention improves elderly cancer survivors' physical function

Nov 18, 2008

A home-based program to improve exercise and diet led to significant, clinically meaningful improvement in body weight and physical function among older long-term cancer survivors in preliminary findings from the RENEW (Reach-out to ENhancE Wellness) trial, according to Wendy Demark-Wahnefried, Ph.D., from The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center's Department of Behavioral Science. The data are being presented at the seventh annual American Association for Cancer Research Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Conference.

The trial, funded by the National Cancer Institute's Office of Cancer Survivorship, included 641 participants. All were 65 or older, had been diagnosed with breast, prostate or colorectal cancer at least five years prior with no evidence of recurrence, were overweight or obese, and had no medical conditions prohibiting moderate exercise.

"We know that when people are diagnosed with cancer they're at risk for comorbid conditions and functional decline," said Demark-Wahnefried. "For those 65 and over, data show they may become debilitated permanently, thus increasing health care costs and taking a toll on family members."

The participant group was divided into 319 who received an intervention and 322 who were waitlisted. Those in the intervention group participated in 15 telephone counseling sessions with a personal trainer throughout the intervention year, and worked toward establishing several daily goals, including: 1) performing lower body strength exercises; 2) walking 30 minutes; 3) using portion-control plates, cups and bowls; 4) consuming fewer than 10 percent of calories from saturated fat; and 5) eating more fruits and vegetables.

At the end of the year, the group showed improvements in their diet and exercise habits and improved physical function scores. Most significant were notable strength improvements in the participants' legs.

Individuals in the intervention group increased their physical activity to 44.9 minutes per week versus 29.7 minutes per week for the control group. Additionally, the intervention group saw a three percent drop in body weight versus a one percent drop in the control group.

Source: University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center

Explore further: Low risk of malignancy for small complex adnexal masses

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Analyzing living cells quickly and accurately

Apr 02, 2014

In order to investigate inflammation, tumors or stem cells, medical practitioners analyze living cells. Non-invasive optical procedures such as Raman spectroscopy accelerate this procedure. Researchers have ...

Recommended for you

Low risk of malignancy for small complex adnexal masses

6 hours ago

(HealthDay)—For older women with small complex adnexal masses, the overall risk of malignancy is low, according to a study published in the December issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.