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Cancer Nutrition Consortium

Dietary Changes and Food Preferences Experienced by Older Adult Cancer Patients and the Impact on Health Outcomes

August 7, 2018

Authors:  Kisha I. Coa; Joel B. Epstein; Kathy McManus; Bruce Moskowitz

Source: Current Research in Nutrition and Food Science

Abstract: To describe how cancer treatment influences the dietary behaviors and food preferences of older adult cancer patients and explore associations between these dietary changes and common cancer symptoms. A convenience sample of 800 cancer patients age 55 years and older undergoing cancer treatment completed a self-administered questionnaire which assessed patients’ dietary changes, food preferences and aversions since starting treatment, and health outcomes. Descriptive statistics were conducted to examine associations between dietary changes and age groups (categorized as 55-64 years old, 65-74 years old, and 75 years old and older), and multivariable logistic regression was used to assess associations between dietary changes and health outcomes The majority of participants experienced at least one cancer symptom, with fatigue and poor appetite being most commonly reported. About half of respondents reported no change in appetite or thirst, but those who did report a change were more likely to report a decrease in appetite rather than an increase, and more likely to report an increase in thirst rather than a decrease. Most of the patterns were consistent across age groups but the oldest age group (75+) was less likely to report eating less frequently, and less likely to report certain increased taste and smell sensitivities. Characterizing the nutritional needs of older adult cancer patients is the first step in being able to address these needs. Future research is needed to evaluate potential strategies to address nutritional concerns, and to better understand the unique needs of specific subgroups of older adult cancer patients at high risk of experiencing dietary changes (e.g., those with head and neck cancer).

Citation:

Coa K, Epstein J. B, McManus K, Moskowitz B. Dietary Changes and Food Preferences Experienced by Older Adult Cancer Patients and the Impact on Health Outcomes. Curr Res Nutr Food Sci 2018;6(2). http://www.foodandnutritionjournal.org/?p=6092

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