The Effects of Exercise on Body Weight and Composition in Breast Cancer Survivors: An Integrative Systematic Review

Carolyn Ingram

Kerry Courneya

Dawn Kingston

ONF 2006, 33(5), 937-950. DOI: 10.1188/06.ONF.937-950

Purpose/Objectives: To examine the research literature regarding the effects of exercise on body weight and composition in breast cancer survivors.

Data Sources: Primary studies in English published from 1989-2004, located through electronic databases, hand searches, and personal contacts.

Data Synthesis: Of 1,314 studies screened, 14 met all inclusion criteria. Body weight and composition generally were secondary endpoints. Effects on weight were less common than reduction in percentage of body fat.

Conclusions: The evidence regarding exercise as a strategy for body weight and composition management in breast cancer is sparse. Research that considers these outcomes as primary endpoints is needed. Numerous measurement issues need to be addressed in future studies.

Implications for Nursing: Exercise may help to control adverse body weight and composition changes among breast cancer survivors. Improved research that assigns these outcomes primary importance will greatly enhance clinicians' ability to assist women in body weight and composition management.

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