Intrapersonal and Social Environment Correlates of Leisure-Time Physical Activity for Cancer Prevention: A Cross-Sectional Study Among Canadian Adults

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
Restricted access


Little is known about the intrapersonal and social factors associated with sufficient physical activity (PA) for cancer prevention, which is greater than for cardiovascular health.


1087 and 1684 randomly selected men and women, age 35–64, completed self-administered questionnaires on PA behavior and psycho-social characteristics. Using gender-stratified logistic regression, we investigated correlates of compliance with Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology PA guidelines for general health (150 min/wk), and the American Cancer Society (ACS; 225 min/wk) and World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research (WCRF/AIRC; 420 min/wk) guidelines for cancer prevention.


Only 39% and 19% of men and women met ACS and WCRF/AICR guidelines, respectively. Self-efficacy, scheduling PA and friend social support were positively correlated with recommended PA for cancer prevention. In men, poor self-rated health and perceived negative outcomes were negatively correlated and hypertension was positively correlated with meeting cancer prevention guidelines. For women, not being married and having a companion for PA were positively correlated with meeting cancer prevention guidelines.


Few adults participate in sufficient PA for cancer risk reduction. Multidimensional public health strategies that incorporate intrapersonal and social factors and are tailored for each gender are needed to promote PA for cancer prevention.

Aparicio-Ting is with the Dept of Community Health Sciences, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Friedenreich and Kopciuk are with the Dept of Population Health Research, Alberta Health Services, Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Plotnikoff is with the School of Education, University of Newcastle, Newcastle, NSW, Australia. Bryant is with Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.