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Achieving substantial changes in eating behavior among women previously treated for breast cancer–an overview of the intervention

OBJECTIVE: To describe the intervention in a clinical trial examining the effect of a plant-based diet on breast cancer recurrence. To report baseline to 12-month dietary change and investigate whether cooking-class attendance influenced adherence to the study’s dietary targets. DESIGN: A descriptive analysis of baseline and 12-month dietary intake data and other variables from a subcohort of participants in the Women’s Healthy Eating and Living Study. SUBJECTS/SETTING: Seven hundred thirty-nine women (primarily non-Hispanic white and well educated) who had been treated for early stage breast cancer. All were intervention group participants and had adhered to the Women’s Healthy Eating and Living Study counseling and dietary assessment protocols. Mean age at study entry was 54 years, and mean body mass index was 26.7. INTERVENTION: Telephone counseling, complemented by an orientation meeting, cooking classes, and newsletters. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The change in intake of vegetables, vegetable juice, fruit, fiber, and fat between baseline and 12 months is reported, and the association between cooking classes attended and overall dietary adherence is examined. STATISTICAL ANALYSES PERFORMED: Mean intake for vegetables, vegetable juice, fruit, fiber, and fat were calculated. Percentage of women meeting select Healthy People 2010 objectives were tabulated. RESULTS: Total daily vegetable, vegetable juice, fruit, and fiber intake increased significantly (P <.01), while fat decreased significantly (P <.01). The percentage of women meeting the Healthy People 2010 fruit and vegetable objectives increased substantially. Overall dietary adherence was associated with increased cooking-class attendance (P for trend <.01). CONCLUSIONS: A multimodal approach to dietary modification, based largely on individualized telephone counseling, can substantially change the overall dietary pattern of women previously treated for breast cancer.

Authors: Newman VA; Thomson CA; Rock CL; Flatt SW; Kealey S; Bardwell WA; Caan BJ; Pierce JP; Women's Healthy Eating and Living (WHEL) Study Group

J Am Diet Assoc. 2005 Mar;105(3):382-91; quiz 488.

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