Compliance with national nutrition recommendations among breast cancer survivors in "stepping stone"

Integr Cancer Ther. 2014 Mar;13(2):114-20. doi: 10.1177/1534735413503550. Epub 2013 Oct 7.


Introduction: Compared with White breast cancer survivors, African American survivors are more likely to be overweight and obese. Differences in weight status may be attributed to differences in dietary intake; however, there is limited research pertaining to the dietary habits of African American breast cancer survivors.

Methods: We compared baseline dietary intakes of 31 overweight and obese African American breast cancer survivors enrolled in a healthy lifestyle intervention to national dietary guidelines and also examined beverage intake habits. Dietary intake was assessed using the National Cancer Institute's Diet History Questionnaire and beverage intake was assessed using 3-day food intake records.

Results: Overall, the majority of survivors consumed the recommended daily servings of fruits and vegetables (71.0%) and red meat (83.9%); however, survivors exceeded national recommendations for energy intake from fat (64.5%), saturated fat (87.1%), and added sugars (77.4%). Few women met the guidelines for whole grain and fiber intake (6.5% and 35.5%, respectively). Additionally, survivors consumed ~10% of total energy intake from beverages alone and drank only ~3.5 cups of water daily.

Conclusions: Current dietary guidelines for cancer survivors recommend consuming >5 servings per day of fruits and vegetables and broad guidelines regarding limiting discretionary fat and added sugars but do not specify beverage intake recommendations. Future dietary interventions in African American breast cancer survivors should focus on reducing intake from dietary fat and added sugar, as well as increasing whole grain consumption as a means for increasing daily fiber intake. Furthermore, substituting caloric beverages with water or noncaloric beverages may be a strategy to decrease caloric intake in African American breast cancer survivors. Nutrition information targeting these nutrients could be administered during treatments or doctor's visits as a means to prevent weight gain that often occurs following diagnosis.

Keywords: added sugars; beverages; breast cancer; energy intake; fiber intake; survivors; water.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • African Americans
  • Aged
  • Beverages
  • Breast Neoplasms / physiopathology*
  • Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Fats / adverse effects
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Energy Intake / physiology
  • Feeding Behavior / physiology*
  • Female
  • Fruit
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Policy*
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / physiopathology
  • Overweight / complications
  • Overweight / physiopathology
  • Vegetables


  • Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Fats
  • Dietary Fiber