Diet quality in cancer survivors

Diet quality of Australian breast cancer survivors: a cross-sectional analysis from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health

Potter et al. JHND Early View 2014

Background

Evidence supports strong associations between healthful eating patterns and maintaining a healthy weight with favourable health outcomes for breast cancer survivors (BCS). The present study aimed to evaluate the diet quality of Australian BCS and to determine whether diet quality differed between BCS and age-matched healthy controls (HC) or by geographical location.

Methods

This cross-sectional study included 281 BCS and 4069 HC from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health mid-aged cohort completing Survey 3 in 2001. Data from the Dietary Questionnaire for Epidemiological Studies food frequency questionnaire were used to calculate the Australian Recommended Food Score (ARFS), a validated summary estimate of diet quality based on adherence to the Australian dietary guidelines.

Results

The mean (SD) ARFS of the BCS group was 33.2 (9.4) out of a maximum of 74. Mean (SD) total ARFS and component scores of BCS did not differ from the HC group [32.9 (8.7)] and no differences were found in ARFS between urban and rural BCS.

Conclusions

This is the first study dedicated exclusively to describing the diet quality of Australian BCS. Although no difference was found when comparisons were made with a HC group, there is considerable room for improvement in the diet quality of Australian BCS. Given research suggesting higher risk of chronic conditions such as obesity amongst BCS, and the recognition of optimising diet quality as a key factor in health promotion for all population groups, data from the present study suggest the need for research targeting the feasibility and impact of improving diet quality of Australian BCS.

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