Diet And Exercise Intervention Helps Older, Overweight Cancer Survivors Reduce Functional Decline

Nutrition — By on July 29, 2009 at 3:08 am

A home-based diet and exercise program reduced the rate of functional decline among older, overweight long-term survivors of colorectal, breast and prostate cancer, according to a new study.

“In 2008, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services declared mobility maintenance and functional independence among at-risk older individuals as the sole priority in aging research.

Older cancer survivors represent an important target because cancer and its treatment are associated with accelerated functional decline,” the authors write. The practice of healthy lifestyle behaviors may reduce risk for disease and functional decline. However, many older cancer survivors report poor lifestyle behaviors, and few meet recommended health promotion guidelines. “Lifestyle interventions may provide benefit, but it is unknown whether long-term cancer survivors can modify their lifestyle behaviors sufficiently to improve functional status.”

“In conclusion, this study provides data on a long overlooked, yet important faction in older long-term cancer survivors. Long-term survivors of colorectal, breast, and prostate cancer participating in a diet and exercise intervention reduced the rate of self-reported physical function decline in comparison with a group receiving no intervention,” the researchers write. “Future studies should not only assess the effect on health and well-being, but also should address cost-related outcomes, especially given that the economic burden associated with functional decline and loss of independence is exceedingly high.”

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