Association of cancer prevention-related nutrition knowledge, beliefs, and attitudes to cancer prevention dietary behavior

J Am Diet Assoc. 1997 Sep;97(9):957-65. doi: 10.1016/S0002-8223(97)00231-9.


Objective: To examine the relationship of cancer prevention-related nutrition knowledge, beliefs, and attitudes to cancer prevention dietary behavior.

Subjects/setting: Noninstitutionalized US adults aged 18 years and older.

Methods: Data collected in the 1992 National Health Interview Survey Cancer Epidemiology Supplement were analyzed. The supplement included questions to ascertain knowledge, beliefs, and attitudes and a food frequency questionnaire to ascertain nutrient intake.

Statistics: Multivariate linear regression modeling was conducted to assess the hypothesized relationships.

Results: After adjustment for relevant covariates (age, sex, education, total energy, perceived barriers to eating a more healthful diet), knowledge and belief constructs were predictive of dietary behavior. Specifically, fat, fiber, and fruit and vegetable intakes more closely approximated dietary recommendations for persons with more cancer-prevention knowledge. The strength of the associations between these constructs and dietary behavior varied in some cases according to level of education and perceived barriers to eating a healthful diet. Of the perceived barriers to eating a healthful diet, perceived ease of eating a healthful diet was most strongly and consistently predictive of intake.

Conclusions: Research findings challenge dietetics practitioners to design diet- and health-promotion programs and activities that not only educate the public about the importance of diet to health, but also address barriers to dietary change.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • African Americans
  • Aged
  • Diet Records
  • Diet*
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Fiber / administration & dosage
  • European Continental Ancestry Group
  • Female
  • Fruit
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Hispanic Americans
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Neoplasms / psychology
  • Poverty
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States
  • Vegetables


  • Dietary Fats
  • Dietary Fiber