Previous research suggests positive effects of health information seeking on prevention behaviors such as diet, exercise, and fruit and vegetable consumption among the general population. The current study builds upon this research by examining the effect of cancer patients' active information seeking from media and (nonmedical) interpersonal sources on fruit and vegetable consumption. The results of this longitudinal study are based on data collected from a randomly drawn sample from the Pennsylvania Cancer Registry, comprising breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer patients who completed mail surveys in the fall of 2006 and 2007. There was a 65% response rate for baseline subjects (resulting n = 2013); of those, 1,293 were interviewed one year later and 845 were available for final analyses. We used multiple imputation to replace missing data and propensity scoring to adjust for effects of possible confounders. There is a positive effect of information seeking at baseline on fruit and vegetable servings at follow-up; seekers consumed 0.43 (95% CI: 0.28 to 0.58) daily servings more than nonseekers adjusting for baseline consumption and other confounders. Active information seeking from media and interpersonal sources may lead to improved nutrition among the cancer patient population.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors are grateful to Angela DeMichele, Sally Dunlop, Shawnika Hull, Bridget Kelly, Chul-joo Lee, Susan Mello, Michaela Moldovan-Johnson, Susana Ramirez, Aaron Smith-McLallen, Sarah Parvanta, Andy Tan, and Norman Wong for their insightful comments on earlier drafts of the article and/or for contributions to instrument development, data collection, and coding; and to Robin Otto, Craig Edelman, and personnel at the Pennsylvania Cancer Registry for collaboration on sample development. The Pennsylvania Department of Health specifically disclaims responsibility for any analyses, interpretations, or conclusions. The authors wish to acknowledge the funding support of the National Cancer Institute’s Center of Excellence in Cancer Communication (CECCR) located at the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania (grant P50-CA095856-05).