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Cancer survivors who engage in physical activity (PA) have improved quality of life, reduced fatigue, and lower mortality rates. We compare the percentage of cancer survivors meeting PA recommendations for US states, stratified by age and gender, to identify the need for PA education and intervention among cancer survivors.


Pooled data from the 1997–2010 National Health Interview Survey were used to determine and rank age-adjusted PA by state. American Cancer Society guidelines (≥150 min/wk of PA) were used to compare prevalence by state, stratified by age group (< 65 and ≥65) and gender.


Thirty-three percent of cancer survivors met PA recommendations. The highest age-adjusted compliance to PA recommendations was in Vermont (59.9%, 95% confidence interval [CI], 40.8–76.3) and the lowest was in Louisiana (14.8%, 95% CI, 9.6–22.1) and Mississippi (15.5%, 95% CI, 10.4–22.3). The lowest percentages meeting recommendations were in Arkansas for males (8.6%, 95% CI, 7.0–10.6), Louisiana for females (12.5%, 95% CI, 6.8–21.9), Louisiana for survivors < 65 (15.6%, 95% CI, 10.5–22.6), and West Virginia for those ≥65 years (12.7%, 95% CI, 7.6–20.6).


Meeting PA recommendations by cancer survivors varies markedly by state of residence. Future efforts should target states with low percentages, tailoring interventions to the special needs of this high-risk population. The importance of PA should be incorporated within cancer survivorship care plans.

Tannenbaum (, McClure, and Lee are with the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center; Asfar, Sherman, and LeBlanc are with the Dept of Public Health Sciences, Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami, Miami, FL.