The short-term ¡Cocinar Para Su Salud! intervention effectively increased long-term intake of fruits and vegetables among Hispanic breast cancer survivors and altered biomarkers linked to breast cancer recurrence risk, according to a study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.1

Although it has been hypothesized that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and low in energy dense foods may improve breast cancer outcomes, Hispanic patients in the United States have higher rates of obesity. Therefore, researchers sought to examine the long-term effects of a short-term culturally based dietary intervention on increasing the consumption of fruits and vegetables, decreasing fat, and changing biomarkers associated with recurrence in Hispanic breast cancer survivors.

For the study, investigators enrolled 70 Spanish-speaking women with a history of stage 0-III breast cancer who completed treatment. Participants were randomly assigned to undergo the short-term program, ¡Cocinar Para Su Salud!, or usual care, which consisted of written dietary recommendations. The program comprised 9 sessions delivered in a total of 24 hours over 12 weeks and included nutritional education, cooking classes, and food-shopping field trips.

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At 12 months, results showed that patients in the intervention group reported higher increases in average daily fruit and vegetables servings; however, there was no significant difference in weight reduction or decreases in the percentage of calories from fat between the 2 groups.

Researchers also found that patients who completed the program had higher increases in plasma lutein (P <.01) and global DNA methylation (P =.06), which is associated with reduced genomic instability and less frequent chromosomal rearrangements.

The findings ultimately suggest that this type of culturally tailored intervention was successful in improving fruit and vegetable consumption among Hispanic survivors of breast cancer and may be beneficial in other disease types such as colorectal cancer where fruit and vegetable intake is important.


1. Greenlee H, Ogden Gaffney A, Aycinena AC, et al. Long-term diet and biomarker changes after a short-term intervention among Hispanic breast cancer survivors: The ¡Cocinar Para Su Salud! randomized controlled trial. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarker Prev. 2016 Oct 13. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-15-1334. [Epub ahead of print]