Seeking cancer-related information from media and family/friends increases fruit and vegetable consumption among cancer patients

Health Commun. 2012;27(4):380-8. doi: 10.1080/10410236.2011.586990. Epub 2011 Sep 20.


Previous research suggests positive effects of health information seeking on prevention behaviors such as diet, exercise, and fruit and vegetable consumption among the general population. The current study builds upon this research by examining the effect of cancer patients' active information seeking from media and (nonmedical) interpersonal sources on fruit and vegetable consumption. The results of this longitudinal study are based on data collected from a randomly drawn sample from the Pennsylvania Cancer Registry, comprising breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer patients who completed mail surveys in the fall of 2006 and 2007. There was a 65% response rate for baseline subjects (resulting n = 2013); of those, 1,293 were interviewed one year later and 845 were available for final analyses. We used multiple imputation to replace missing data and propensity scoring to adjust for effects of possible confounders. There is a positive effect of information seeking at baseline on fruit and vegetable servings at follow-up; seekers consumed 0.43 (95% CI: 0.28 to 0.58) daily servings more than nonseekers adjusting for baseline consumption and other confounders. Active information seeking from media and interpersonal sources may lead to improved nutrition among the cancer patient population.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Consumer Health Information*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet*
  • Family
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Friends
  • Fruit*
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Information Seeking Behavior*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Mass Media
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms*
  • Pennsylvania
  • Registries
  • Vegetables*
  • Young Adult