Nutrition Literacy among Cancer Survivors: Feasibility Results from the Healthy Eating and Living Against Breast Cancer (HEAL-BCa) Study: a Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial

Niyati Parekh, Jieying Jiang, Marissa Buchan, Marleen Meyers, Heather Gibbs, Paul Krebs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Knowledge of nutrition among breast cancer patients is insufficient, despite their motivation to seek valid information about healthy food choices. This study examines the feasibility of nutrition education workshops for cancer survivors, to inform the design of a multi-center intervention. Fifty-nine female English-speaking breast cancer patients, who had completed treatment, were enrolled. Participants were randomized to the intervention or control group. The intervention group attended six nutrition education sessions, and the control group received brochures. Measurements were done at baseline and 3-month follow-up and included the Assessment Instrument for Breast Cancer (NLit-BCa), fruit/vegetable and general health literacy screeners. Height and weight were measured. Changes in nutrition literacy, health literacy, and food intake from baseline to follow-up (within-group change) were calculated for both groups (effect sizes were reported as Cohen’s d). Participants were mostly white, with a mean age of 58 years, BMI of 31.6 kg/m2, and had college degrees. Follow-up rates were high (89% = control and 77% = intervention group). At baseline, participants scored high for most NLit-BCa assessment components except food portions in both groups. At the 3-month follow-up, effect sizes (d) on the NLit-BCa ranged from −0.5 to 0.16. The study met its recruitment goals within 6 months. Focus groups indicated that (a) attending six sessions was acceptable, (b) patients found social/emotional support, (c) improvements should include information for special diets and booster sessions. This pilot study suggests that the intervention was acceptable and that scaling up of this intervention is feasible and could provide benefit to breast cancer survivors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1239-1249
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Cancer Education
Volume33
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018

Keywords

  • Breast cancer survivors
  • NLit-BCa
  • Nutrition education
  • Nutrition literacy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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