Institute of Epidemiology & Health Care


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Exploring predictors of receptiveness to a discussion about physical activity and cancer prevention.

This CRUK-funded project aimed to explore the feasibility of identifying potential predictors of receptiveness to a conversation about physical activity (PA) and cancer prevention, using ecological momentary assessments (EMA). We conducted a mixed-methods systematic review to identify articles reporting factors affecting the delivery of and receptivity to PA advice in primary care.  This review found high variation in the frequency and context of delivery and receipt, and outlined common barriers to and facilitators of (coded in the Theoretical Domains Framework and Capability, Opportunity, and Motivation Behaviour model) practitioner delivery. Identified barriers could be addressed through system-level changes, improved educational resources, and training to increase practitioner knowledge and confidence, and subsequently improve patient receptivity and PA uptake. Our EMA study explored receptiveness to PA advice around the time of cancer screening. Uptake and was high: 84% of people who consented to take part in the research downloaded the study app, and across the sample 82.7% of time points were completed. This suggests EMA studies within the screening setting are feasible. Preliminary analyses of the data from this study suggests that there is considerable between person and within person variation in openness to a conversation about physical activity and cancer prevention. Typology analysis of qualitative interviews with participants identified four types of screening participant, each with unique views on whether NHS cancer screening programmes are a suitable opportunity to deliver physical activity advice for cancer prevention.