UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Adherence to Cancer Prevention Guidelines among Older White and Black Adults in the Health ABC Study Jung, Audrey Y.; Miljkovic, Iva; Rubin, Susan; Kritchevsky, Stephen B.; Klepin, Heidi D.; Newman, Anne B.; Cauley, Jane; Ayonayon, Hilsa; Harris, Tamara B.; Murphy, Rachel A.


One-third of cancers can be prevented through healthy lifestyles. This study investigates the prevalence of and factors associated with engagement in cancer prevention guidelines in a population-based cohort of 2124 older white and black men and women. We used Health ABC data to construct a score from 0 (lowest adherence) to 7 (greatest adherence) based on the sum of seven recommendations for cancer prevention from the World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research; body fatness (maintenance of healthy body weight), physical activity (at least moderately physically active), diet (fruit, vegetables, fiber, and red and processed meat), and alcohol. Mean (SD) scores in men and women were 3.24 (1.09) and 3.17 (1.10). Lower scores were associated with younger age (women only), black race, current smoking, and prevalent cardiovascular disease. Less than 1% of men and women adhered to all recommendations. Of the individual guidelines, adherence was lowest for fiber (9% of men; 6% of women) followed by physical activity (26% of men; 18% of women), and body weight (21% of men; 26% of women). These results suggest a critical public health need, especially given the growing older population. Black older adults, smokers, and those with prevalent disease may be at higher risk and thus warrant additional focus.

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