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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.
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