What is the nutrition and lifestyle profile in oncology patient? Cross-sectional study.

Andreia Rolão, Isabel Monteiro-Grillo, Maria Ermelinda Camilo, Paula Ravasco


Cancer aetiology is multifactorial and risk factors include: obesity, central adiposity, sedentarism, excessive or deficient intake of foods and/or nutrients with pro-carcinogenic effects vs protective ones.To evaluate the pattern of nutritional status, life styles, physical activity and diet in a cohort of cancer patients.This pilot cross-sectional study was conducted in 64 patients referred for radiotherapy at the Radiotherapy Department of the University Hospital of Santa Maria (CHLN). Evaluations were: waist circumference associated with potential cardio-metabolic risk, body composition by Tetrapolar Bioimpedance Analysis (XITRON®), Body Mass Index, dietary intake pattern with a short food frequency questionnaire, physical activity with Jackson questionnaire.The most frequent diagnosis were breast and colorectal cancers; 53% of patients were overweight/obese, and there was a significant correlation between this nutritional pattern and weight gain in comparison with usual weight (p<0.005). There were 78% of patients with a waist circumference above the maximum cut-off limit, indicating moderate/ high cardio-metabolic risk, and most were female patients (87%). The great majority of patients (61%) had excessive fat mass highly above the maximum recommended cut-off value, especially male patients (74%). The dietary pattern was poor in vegetables (55%) and excessive in meat and simple carbohydrates (78%); physical activity was low with a high prevalence of sedentarism.This population presented excessive body weight, excessive fat mass, high cardio-metabolic risk, sedentarism and an unbalanced diet poor in protective foods/nutrients. This population's life styles and nutritional pattern, may be considered of risk in oncology disease. The elevated and growing incidence of cancer in Portugal, reinforces the need for further research in order to identify nutritional factors involved in the etiology/evolution and probably prognosis of cancer.

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