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05.02.2018 | Original Article | Ausgabe 7/2018

Supportive Care in Cancer 7/2018

A multi-center survey on dietary knowledge and behavior among inpatients in oncology department

Supportive Care in Cancer > Ausgabe 7/2018
Minghua Cong, Jiejun Wang, Yu Fang, Yinghua Liu, Mingxiao Sun, Qiong Wu, Kan Wang, Yan Huang, Yiqun Ling, Yong Liu, Quanfu Li, Yibing Liu, Jiang Zhu, Lingjun Zhu, Zhendong Zheng, Ling Li, Dongying Liu, Zimin Liu, Hanping Shi, Peng Yuan



To investigate the current associated factors of dietary knowledge and behavior, the intake and nutritional status in malignancy Chinese inpatients, and the malnutrition causes involved in dietary nutrition knowledge level and behavior, providing recommendations to patients for nutrition education and intervention.


Five hundred and thirty-five participants from 18 hospitals were investigated by a questionnaire related to dietary knowledge and behavior. Physicians asked and recorded the level of dietary intake and appetite scoring of the participants. The nutritional risk screening with the Nutritional Risk Screening 2002 (NRS-2002) and the dietary survey by 24 h dietary recalls were completed by a dietitian. Besides, the target energy intake and the target protein intake were calculated by the “rule of thumb” recommended by ESPEN guideline, comparing the difference between the actual intake and target intake.


According to the questionnaire, 95.2% of participants thought it was important to have a good dietetic habit, and nearly half of them have searched for guides on how to diet; 70% of the patients had no clear idea of what was a scientific diet; 82% of patients had contradictory dietary knowledge; 64.2% of patients would listen to the opinion of the attending physician when a contradiction happened. The main three ways of learning about healthy diet were attending physician, network, and TV, respectively, with the values 26.0, 18.5, and 16.1%. Importantly, 99.6% of patients have made mistakes about dietary knowledge, for example, crab, chicken, lamb, fish, and prawns should not be eaten in their concept. In addition, more than 90% of participants have taken Ganoderma lucidum spore powder, sea cucumber, ginseng, Cordyceps sinensis, and so on. Ninety-three percent of the patients never reached a qualified nutrition education. Besides, 15.6% of the participants had nutritional risk (NRS-2002 ≥ 3). The actual daily energy intake was 1169.20 ± 465.97 kcal, which was significantly less than target energy intake (P < 0.01), amounting to 65.3% of the target requirements. The actual daily protein intake was 46.55 ± 21.40 g, which was significantly less than target protein intake (P < 0.01), amounting to 74.44%. On the other hand, 69% of the participants were “Not too bad, Ok, Good, or Very good” according to the records of physicians, while 34% of them did not reach 60%of the target requirements through dietary survey.


The survey indicated that cancer patients had poor understanding of the scientific dietary nutrition and were in low level of normative nutritional education among Chinese malignancy inpatients. Dietary intake of most cancer patients decreased, and the actual intake cannot be revealed by NRS-2002 score or the physicians’ inquiry. It is necessary to enhance the cooperation between dietitians and physicians and develop nutrition education to improve the level of dietary knowledge.

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