Aims and objectives: To explore the factors contributing to the low physical activity level for Hong Kong Chinese children hospitalised with cancer. Background: Notwithstanding the fact that regular physical activity can ameliorate cancer-related fatigue and other adverse effect of cancer treatment on children's physical and psychological well-being, physical inactivity is a common problem among children undergoing cancer treatment. Understanding the factors that affect their physical activity level is an important step towards planning and evaluating an appropriate intervention that promotes the adoption and maintenance of regular physical activity. Design: A phenomenological design was used in this qualitative study. Methods: A purposive sample of 25 children with cancer was recruited in a paediatric oncology unit of an acute care public hospital in Hong Kong. They were asked to participate in a semistructured interview by their bedside lasting about 30 minutes. All the interviews were tape-recorded and immediately transcribed. Content analysis was used to analyse the qualitative data. Results: The findings revealed that the patients’ physical condition, misunderstanding about physical activity by children, parents and healthcare professionals, emotional disturbances and social influences are four important factors impeding children from engaging in regular physical activity during cancer treatment. Conclusion: This study addresses a gap in the literature by identifying the factors that negatively influence the physical activity levels of Hong Kong Chinese children hospitalised with cancer. Relevance to clinical practice: Understanding these factors, nurses can explore interventions that target on correcting the misunderstanding and providing relevant information about the importance of physical activity, eventually promoting the adoption and maintenance of regular physical activity and enhancing the quality of life.
- physical activity
ASJC Scopus subject areas