Objective: To determine motivators of health behaviors (relevant to risk for chronic disease and cancer recurrence) after a cancer diagnosis. Patients and Methods: Eighty-six women who had been treated for breast cancer (mean age, 54.8 years; median time since diagnosis, 23.5 months) participated in this cross-sectional study (1997-1998). Respondents completed a questionnaire assessing overweight or obesity status, dietary fat intake, energy expenditure, motivationalreadiness for exercise and weight loss, and variables associated with readiness for exercise adoption and weight loss. Results: Forty-six women (54%) were overweight or obese, and 47 women (55%) reported dietary fat intake of 30% or higher.Sixty-one women (72%) were in action/maintenance stages for exercise adoption. A majority believed that diet and exercise can change the course of cancer. Overweight and obese women in the Sample were more likely to be in early stages of motivational readiness for weight loss, and they reported significantly lower exercise self-efficacy and lower eating self-efficacy than their nonoverweight peers. However, they endorsed more benefits associated with weight loss than the nonoverweight subgroup. Thirty-three women (39%) reported both a low-fat diet and exercising at recommended levels. Conclusions: Only a minority of respondents reported consuming a diet low in fat and exercising at recommended levels, which suggests a need to improve both diet and exercise behaviors among women treated for breast cancer. Overweight and obese women reported low self-efficacy for exercise and eating, suggesting that interventions should focus on increasing self-efficacy for behavior change.
ASJC Scopus subject areas