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27.11.2019 | Ausgabe 1/2020

Journal of Cancer Survivorship 1/2020

Outcomes of a text message, Fitbit, and coaching intervention on physical activity maintenance among cancer survivors: a randomized control pilot trial

Journal of Cancer Survivorship > Ausgabe 1/2020
Nancy M. Gell, Kristin W. Grover, Liliane Savard, Kim Dittus
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s11764-019-00831-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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We aimed to determine the effect of a health coach, text message, and Fitbit intervention on moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) maintenance in cancer survivors following a supervised exercise program compared to provision of a Fitbit alone.


Participants were recruited during the last month of an exercise-based oncology rehabilitation program and randomly assigned to the full intervention (n = 34) or Fitbit-only control groups (n = 32). In total, 59 cancer survivors completed the program (81% female; mean age 61.4 ± 9.0). Group by time differences in accelerometer-measured MVPA was assessed using linear mixed models. Additionally, we examined mean weekly Fitbit-derived MVPA levels.


Intervention participants maintained weekly MVPA from pre- (295.7 ± 139.6) to post-intervention (322.0 ± 199.4; p = 0.37), whereas those in the Fitbit-only group had a significant decrease in MVPA (305.5 ± 181.1 pre vs 250.7 ± 166.5 post; p = 0.03, effect size 0.57). The intervention participants maintained recommended levels of MPVA for health benefits during the 8-week intervention, whereas the Fitbit-only control group did not.


The findings demonstrate that a remote intervention delivered through health coaching, text messages, and Fitbit can promote maintenance of MVPA after a structured program for cancer survivors. However, use of a Fitbit alone was not sufficient to prevent expected decline in MVPA. Additional research is warranted to examine long-term impacts and efficacy in a more diverse population of cancer survivors.

Implications for Cancer Survivors

Use of a wearable tracker alone may not be sufficient for exercise maintenance among cancer survivors after transition to an independent program. Additional planning for relapse prevention is recommended.

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