JOURNAL ARTICLE

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

L Harnack, G Block, A Subar, S Lane, R Brand
Journal of the American Dietetic Association 1997, 97 (9): 957-65
9284871

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.

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