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Increasing Fruit and Vegetable Intake in Cancer Patients

Cancer is the number one cause of death for Coos County residents, nearly double the Oregon rate. Studies demonstrate that eating fruits and vegetables could improve outcomes for cancer patients.

Originally published on  Increasing fruit and vegetable intake in cancer patients – Land Grant Impacts. 

However, less than 15% of Coos County residents consume the minimum of the recommended five fruits and vegetables per day. Coos County also lacks nutrition experts, with a dietitian employed at only one of the 10 health care sites in the county. This has meant that health care providers don’t screen for diet since they have no options for patient referrals. 

The Oregon State University Extension Family and Community Health Program conducted a study called WE CAN (Wellness Education for Cancer Nutrition). WE CAN increases the intake of fruits and vegetables by creating diet assessment tools, nutrition resources and referral options. The team developed and tested multiple interventions. One of these was a 52-page Nutrition Resource Guide that includes local food banks/pantries, free- and reduced-price meal sites and Extension resources across Coos and neighboring Curry County. The guide also provides reputable websites, books and cookbooks addressing nutrition and diseases besides cancer, and online nutrition trainings for residents and health professionals. The team selected print-friendly and evidence-based written nutrition guidelines and shared them with patients. The Bay Area Cancer Center in Coos County piloted all the interventions. 

The Nutrition Resource Guide was created as a result of OSU Extension’s study. The guide is also relevant to participants in federal nutrition programs like SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) and WIC (Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children). Church groups, schools, support groups, weight-management programs and individuals interested in improving their dietary intake can use the guide. It helps individuals, including those with cancer, find ways to get more fruits and vegetables into their diet and improve their health. 

Link to full statement on website: 

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