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Research Project: Childhood Obesity Prevention

Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Title: Exploring food preparation practices in families with and without school-aged childhood cancer survivors

item RABER, MARGARET - Md Anderson Cancer Center
item CRAWFORD, KARLA - Md Anderson Cancer Center
item BARANOWSKI, TOM - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)
item SHARMA, SHREELA - University Of Texas Health Science Center
item SCHICK, VANESSA - University Of Texas Health Science Center
item MARKHAM, CHRISTINE - University Of Texas Health Science Center
item CHANDRA, JOYA - Md Anderson Cancer Center

Submitted to: Public Health Nutrition
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/14/2019
Publication Date: 9/20/2019
Citation: Raber, M., Crawford, K., Baranowski, T., Sharma, S.V., Schick, V., Markham, C., Chandra, J. 2019. Exploring food preparation practices in families with and without school-aged childhood cancer survivors. Public Health Nutrition.

Interpretive Summary: Pediatric cancer survivors are in special need of nutrition education for a healthier diet. Parents may be particularly indulgent to cancer survivor wants and needs due to sensitivity to possible child mortality. Food preparation is a key component of nutrition education. This study compares parents of cancer survivors to parents of same-aged healthy children using real time observation of their practices. No differences were found in how the parents prepared an evening meal, using the Healthy Cooking Index. Nutrition education for families of pediatric cancer survivors should include food preparation practices particularly appropriate to the dietary needs of this growing population.

Technical Abstract: Survival rates for paediatric cancers have increased dramatically since the 1970s, but childhood cancer survivors (CCS) are at increased risk for several chronic diseases throughout life. Nutrition interventions promoting healthy family meals may support wellness for survivors, but little research has explored CCS family food preparation habits. The goal of the present study was to describe and compare food preparation practices of CCS and non-CCS families. Typical evening meal preparation events were observed and recorded in participant homes. Recordings and notes were analysed using the Healthy Cooking Index (HCI), a measure of nutrition-optimizing food preparation practices relevant to survivor wellness. Demographics, BMI and nutrient composition of prepared meals were also collected. Forty parents with a CCS or non-CCS child aged 5–17 years were recruited. There were no major differences between the CCS and non-CCS families with regard to summative HCI score or specific food preparation behaviours. Meals prepared by CCS and non-CCS families had similar nutrient compositions. The study revealed areas for practical nutrition intervention in CCS and non-CCS families. Future studies should consider adopting and tailoring nutrition intervention methods that have been successful in non-CCS communities.