The Positive Change for Life survivorship project was a nutrition and lifestyle intervention for long term survivors of blood cancer treated with stem cell transplantation that promoted sustainable changes in diet, physical activity and health behaviours to maximise future health, wellbeing and quality of life.
Within the setting and work flow of the Alfred Late Effects Clinic, each project participant entered a 12 month program integrating the key components of individually tailored community-based physical activity, group physical activity, education, motivational strategies and a structured program of dietetic consultation based on the ‘Coach for Heart Health’ model used for cardiac rehabilitation. Patient-reported outcome measures were recorded at baseline and following 6 and 12 months of project participation and included fatigue assessments, quality of life, physical activity and nutrition questionnaires. Baseline weight, waist circumference, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, fasting glucose and lipid profiles were performed at baseline and repeated at 12 months.
Marked improvements in physical activity levels and dietary habits were identified in participants resulting in statistically significant weight loss, reduction in waist circumference and improved lipid profiles at 12 months. Further, clinically meaningful improvements in fatigue levels and quality of life were demonstrated. These changes were not seen in a matched group of Late Effects Clinic attendees receiving general health advice but not participating in lifestyle modification program.
The Positive Change for Life project demonstrates the potential of an individualized community-based physical activity program coupled with nutritional advice to improve healthy lifestyle behaviours, promote weight loss, enhance quality of life and reduce fatigue levels in long term survivors of stem cell transplants
This project was highly commended in the 2015 Victorian Public Healthcare Awards: Key Directions in Healthcare Awards–Minister of Health’s Award for excellence in cancer care.