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Cancer risks for urban African-American women grow, healthy diets more difficult to maintain
Date:11/28/2007

ATLANTA Women living in the inner city have difficulty meeting dietary goals that could help prevent cancer, according to a report from Johns Hopkins University researchers. In a study of African-American women living in public housing within Washington, D.C., the researchers found that the majority met one or none of five dietary goals suggested to reduce the risk of developing cancer. In particular, these women were unlikely to eat a healthy diet that included the recommended amount of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Their analysis also linked high risk dietary behaviors with younger age, depression, smoking and being born within the District of Columbia. The researchers present their findings today in Atlanta at the American Association for Cancer Research conference on The Science of Cancer Health Disparities in Racial/Ethnic Minorities and the Medically Underserved, being held November 27-30.

African-American women, in general, face a worse cancer incidence and mortality rate than most other ethnic groups, and poor African-American women are at an even greater disadvantage, said Ann C. Klassen, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Health, Behavior, and Society at Johns Hopkins Universitys Bloomberg School of Public Health. Improving diet is one effective way to help these women lower their risk for developing cancer.

Since diet and behavior are intertwined, Klassen says, the researchers needed to get a better understanding of the lifestyle of African-American women in the District of Columbias low resource neighborhoods in order to assess the needs of the community.

Klassen and her colleagues analyzed data from 156 African-American female residents of 11 public housing communities across Washington. The women participants gave information regarding what they ate and drank as well as other behaviors over several 24 hour periods, providing 468 such diet-related recalls to researchers.

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Contact: Greg Lester
greg.lester@aacr.org
267-646-0554
American Association for Cancer Research
Source:Eurekalert

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