AUSTRALIA- A researcher from the University of New South Wales Medicine and Health has created a digital health initiative to encourage young cancer survivors to engage in physical activity.
The home-based iBounce program was developed by Dr. Lauren Ha, an exercise physiologist and post-doctoral research fellow in pediatrics at the School of Clinical Medicine of UNSW Medicine and Health.
Dr Ha modified a version of iEngage, an evidence-based health education program for school-aged children, to create the home-based iBounce.
iEngage has ten self-paced courses with themes including flexibility, aerobic fitness, and muscular strength that are presented through quick demonstration videos.
The iBounce program, which was supported by The Kids’ Cancer Project, had been tested through a 12-week pilot involving 30 patients from Sydney Children’s Hospital.
According to research that was published in JMIR Cancer, participants had made “substantial” gains in their aerobic fitness by the end of the program.
If survivors improve their fitness levels, that can go a long way to help them with their recovery, reduce their risk of other chronic illnesses, and relieve pressure on the health system
In Australia, an estimated 750 kids between the ages of 0 and 14 receive cancer diagnoses annually.
In the G20, Australia is thought to have the fifth-highest incidence rate of child malignancies, behind Canada, the United States, South Korea, and Germany.
For the benefit of young cancer patients and their families, the Australian government earlier this year developed a digital cancer hub.
The digital hub will offer online counseling services to parents and children under 12 who have cancer.
The government hopes to help 20,000 more Australians with mental health support and more than 70,000 people with cancer through the center. It will also offer lodging and financial support.
Many survivors experience a lack of enthusiasm to exercise after undergoing surgery, chemotherapy, or radiotherapy for childhood cancer.
Dr. Ha noted that in order to address young cancer survivors’ poor levels of fitness and physical inactivity, distance-delivered technologies are needed.
” If survivors improve their fitness levels, that can go a long way to help them with their recovery, reduce their risk of other chronic illnesses, and relieve pressure on the health system,” she argued.
The next phase of the study will continue to develop the iBounce program in collaboration with medical professionals, childhood cancer survivors, and their families.
It will also include participants who do not speak English and groups from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds.
In addition, Dr. Ha will oversee a national iBounce experiment and create an implementation plan to support the application of iBounce in clinical settings.
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