Diet and cancer prevention: a sampler of story ideas for '5-a-Day for Better Health Week'

sed their intake of fruits and vegetables by an average of one-third of a serving per day. Intervention strategies ranged from self-help diet materials and food demonstrations to posters, flyers and payroll stuffers.

The study involved 27 Seattle-area companies; half implemented a behavior-change program while half served as a control group and offered no nutritional-intervention program.

"The difficult part was to discern whether the intervention had an effect against the backdrop of the National Cancer Institute's 5-a-Day campaign," she says. To account for the potential effect, the researchers subtracted the dietary change shown by the control groups from the change shown by the intervention group.

The study, completed early last year, is now being expanded to include 44 blue-collar work sites throughout the Seattle area.

"Members of the population with least evidence of reaching the 5-a-Day goal nationally are those with low socioeconomic status, according to national surveys," Beresford says. "The blue-collar population is important to study, because our first study, with white-collar workers, did not allow us to determine whether we could change the fruit and vegetable consumption of this group."

Are vitamin supplements as good as fruits and vegetables when it comes to cancer prevention?

Although the research on dietary supplements is limited, there is evidence that some vitamin and mineral supplements may reduce cancer risk, says Dr. Ruth Patterson, an associate member in the Center's Cancer Prevention Research Program.

Patterson's past research has shown, for example, that people who take a multivitamin daily for at least 10 years cut their colon-cancer risk in half. Even more compelling: those who take at least 200 international units of vitamin E daily reduce their risk of colon cancer by 57 percent.

"However, Americans need a strong message that there are many non-nutritive compounds in foods, especially in fruits

Contact: Kristen Woodward
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

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