Postmenopausal minority women can be successfully recruited for a program to reduce dietary fat and can achieve significant changes in their eating habits, stated Carolyn K. Clifford, phd, at the 1997 Biennial Symposium on Minorities, the Medically Underserved, and Cancer in Washington, DC.
The Womens Health Trial focus on minority group members, which involved a 3-year multicenter clinical trial, finished about a year ago, she reported. Although not presenting data or results from the trial, Clifford, chief of the National Cancer Institute Diet and Cancer Branch noted that 2,250 women participated, most of them from households earning between $15,000 and $50,000 per year, and one-fourth from households earning below $15,000. At the outset of the trial, they were consuming an average of 38% of their calories from fat.
A number of strategies resulted in recruitment of minority women, Clifford said, including mailings, mass media presentation, encouragement from friends, and community outreach. Recruitment yield proved to be lower among poorer women than among those of middle income or above.
Current NCI Trials
A variety of dietary studies supported by the NCI currently aim to test the feasibility of lowering fat in womens diets to 15% to 20% of daily calories, as well as the relationship of that dietary change to a number of specific cancers. The dietary intervention trials focus on introducing more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fiber into the daily diet and also on reducing fat. The objective is to see whether such changes in adults can lower the incidence of cancer. Dietary intake measurements used include food frequency questionnaires, food records, and 24-hour recall.