Make it portable Devine found that the teens and young adults were interested in a physical activity intervention that had a web site component, but having to log in to a computer was often a barrier to their participation. “We found that if users didn’t have immediate access to their individualized fitness plan, they weren’t as engaged in accomplishing the recommended physical activity,” said Devine, who is also an assistant professor of medicine at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Jersey. “Nearly 70% of young adults have a smartphone regardless of income or education. It only makes sense to develop tools that are convenient and a natural extension of their daily lives.”
Devine is applying her prior work to a smartphone app that will promote physical fitness specifically among young cancer survivors. Currently in the initial stage of development, sections of the app will be set up like a game, complete with rewards. It will also have a serious side, providing information about common side effects of treatments and recommending modifications to that person’s physical activity plan. The overall aim will be to help these survivors keep up with exercise goals and improve their cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength, fatigue and other quality of life factors. Support will come in the form of a weekly group fitness program, which will allow the participants to get together with an instructor for fitness education, exercise, and socializing.
“This particular population often has difficulty in transitioning to posttreatment management of their care. By providing childhood cancer survivors with a physical fitness intervention tailored specifically to their needs, we can help reduce their risk of heart disease and possibly other serious health conditions,” explained the Rutgers researcher.
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2. Ness KK, Leisenring WM, Huang S, et al. Predictors of inactive lifestyle among adult survivors of childhood cancer: a report from the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study. Cancer. 2009;115(9):1984-1994.
3. Wilson CL, Stratton K, Leisenring WM, et al. Decline in physical activity level in the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study cohort [published online ahead of print May 19, 2014]. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. pii: cebp.0213.2014.