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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.
Childhood cancer survivors (CCS) have been shown to practise suboptimal dietary intake and may benefit from nutrition interventions during and after treatment. Cooking classes have become popular for encouraging healthy eating behaviours in community-based programming and academic research; however, literature on teaching cooking classes in CCS is limited. The purpose of the present study was to address the development and implementation of classes for CCS based on a recently developed framework of healthy cooking behaviour.
A conceptual framework was developed from a systematic literature review and used to guide healthy cooking classes for CCS in different settings.
One paediatric cancer hospital inpatient unit, one paediatric cancer in-hospital camp programme and two off-site paediatric cancer summer camp programmes.
One hundred and eighty-nine CCS of varying ages and thirteen parents of CCS.
Seventeen classes were taught at camps and seven classes in the hospital inpatient unit. Healthy cooking classes based on the conceptual framework are feasible and were well received by CCS.
Cooking classes for CCS, both at the hospital and at camp, reinforced the principles of the conceptual framework. Future trials should assess the dietary and anthropometric impact of evidence-based healthy cooking classes in CCS.
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