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Support System Leads to Better Diet, Nutrition
Date:9/20/2007

Women who got phone counseling ate more veggies and fiber, less fat, study found

THURSDAY, Sept. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Could better nutrition and diet be as close as a helpful phone call away?

A new study found that women who received telephone counseling about healthy eating habits wound up consuming more vegetables, fruits and fiber and less fat, suggesting that a support system can pay big rewards for people looking to improve their eating habits.

"With proper support, you can make a major change in your diet," said Cheryl Rock, professor of nutrition at the University of California, San Diego, and a study co-author. "A lot of people think it's an insurmountable task. But this study shows that yes, indeed, you can make a big change."

The study is published in the October issue of The Journal of Nutrition.

Rock and her colleagues randomly assigned 3,088 women, all at risk for a recurrence of breast cancer, to either a telephone counseling group or another group that didn't get the phone counseling. The phone counseling group also received newsletters talking about healthy eating and cooking classes. The women were encouraged to use recipes to help them meet their goals for more fruits, vegetables and fiber, and less fat.

The "control" -- or comparison -- group got printed materials about healthy diets and were offered cooking classes, but the themes weren't related to boosting intake of vegetables, fruit and fiber and decreasing fat.

Both groups ate fairly healthful diets at the start of the four-year study. Both ate seven vegetable and fruit servings a day, 21 grams a day of fiber and got 28.7 percent of energy from fat.

Under the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, those on a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet are advised to eat nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day, 28 grams of fiber, and to keep total fat to 20 percent to 35 percent of calories, most of the fat
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