(HealthDay News) — Only 35 percent of women meet current physical activity guidelines after breast cancer diagnosis, with African-American women less likely to meet guidelines, according to a study published online June 9 in Cancer.

Brionna Y. Hair., M.P.H., from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and colleagues assessed pre- and post-diagnosis physical activity levels in a cohort of 1,735 women, aged 20 to 74 years, diagnosed with invasive breast cancer between 2008 and 2011. The authors examined the correlation between demographic, behavioral, and clinical characteristics and activity levels.

The researchers found that, after diagnosis of breast cancer, only 35 percent of participants met the current physical activity guidelines. Fifty-nine percent of patients reported a decrease in activity after diagnosis, with the average study participant reducing their activity by 15 metabolic equivalent task (MET) hours per week. African-American women were less likely than white women to meet national physical activity guidelines after diagnosis, after adjustment for potential confounding variables (odds ratio for reporting insufficient or sedentary behavior, 1.38), and they reported less weekly post-diagnosis physical activity (12 versus 14 MET hours; P = 0.13).

“Despite compelling evidence demonstrating the benefits of physical activity after a diagnosis of breast cancer, it is clear that more work needs to be done to promote physical activity in patients with breast cancer, especially among African-American women,” the authors write.

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