This review estimated the effectiveness of behavior change interventions to increase physical activity (PA) among rural adult cancer survivors. PubMed Medline, CINAHL, and PsychINFO were systematically searched through July 2020. Two independent investigators screened citations to identify studies to increase PA in adults residing in rural areas who had received any cancer diagnosis. Meta-analyses were conducted to assess proportion of participants achieving PA goal, paired mean difference (MD) in aerobic PA and strength training, and retention from baseline to post-intervention. Seven studies met inclusion criteria encompassing a total of 722 participants (591 in intervention and 131 controls). Overall quality of evidence was low to medium. The pooled proportion of participants achieving PA goals (150–225 min/wk) was 39% [95% confidence interval (CI), 18%–62%]. The mean time spent engaging in aerobic PA increased from baseline to post-intervention (range, 6–52 weeks) by 97.7 min/wk (95% CI, 75.0–120.4), and the MD in time spent on strength training was 12.2 min/wk (95% CI, −8.3–32.8). The pooled retention rate was 82% (95% CI, 69%–92%) at 6 to 78 weeks. Because of the modest intervention effects, low quality of evidence, and small number of studies, further rigorously designed behavior change interventions, including randomized controlled trials with long-term follow up, are needed to confirm efficacy for increasing PA in rural cancer survivors and to test innovative implementation strategies to enhance reach and effectiveness.

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