Raising Awareness about Physical Activity and Cancer Prevention


Canadian Cancer Society – Canadian Institutes of Health Research


Physical activity (PA) can reduce nearly 4 in 10 cases of cancer. Studies have shown that many Canadian immigrant women have low rates of PA. Mounting research underscores the value of community-based health promotion when targeting immigrant groups. We designed a culturally-tailored education session on PA and cancer risk with input from diverse immigrant women and community agency managers. We then explored potential impact on PA knowledge, confidence and participation among women exposed to the education session, and compared to women not exposed.

Key Findings

  1. We Interviewed 22 immigrant women and 16 community agency managers who largely agreed on education session topics (e.g. amount/type of PA, its benefits, cancer screening information) and format (e.g. one-hour, English-language, group didactic + interactive virtual session with reinforcing take-home information translated to different languages).
  2. We delivered 5 one-hour virtual education sessions to 43 immigrant women (East Asian, South Asian, African) via 6 community agencies. We collected data from participating immigrant women before and after education sessions, and compared that with data collected from 41 immigrant women identified via 9 different community agencies who were not exposed to the education session. The education session had a positive impact on participant PA compared to women not exposed to the education session. Participant PA knowledge and PA confidence increased significantly from baseline at both 1 and 6 months.
  3. Overall, 98% of the participants who attended the education session were satisfied or very satisfied with the education session, and 90% or more ≥90% agreed or strongly agreed that they: learned how much PA to do weekly, different ways to get PA and how to overcome barriers of PA; and planned to do more PA.
  4. More than 90% said that they had no problem joining the virtual session, slides were easy to see and understand, the session was interactive; and the trainer had good knowledge, spoke clearly, and answered questions well.


The results of this study show that culturally tailored education sessions delivered via community agencies are a feasible and impactful way to reach immigrant women with health promotion information and advice. Expanded testing with a greater number of participants is needed to prove that education sessions delivered via community agencies can improve PA knowledge, confidence and behaviour among immigrant women.