Nutrition literacy assessment in oncology informal caregivers: preliminary data of a cross-sectional study
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Veneto Institute of Oncology IOV-IRCCS, Dietetics and Clinical Nutrition Unit, Via Gattamelata, 64, 35128 Padua, Italy
Veneto Institute of Oncology IOV-IRCCS
Veneto Institute of Oncology IOV-IRCCS, Dietetics and Clinical Nutrition Unit, Italy
University of Florence, Medical Specialization School in Hygiene and Preventive Medicine, viale GB Morgagni, 48, 50134 Florence, Italy
Veneto Institute of Oncology IOV-IRCCS, Patient Education and Empowerment Unit, Via Gattamelata, 64, 35128, Padua, Italy
University of Kansas Medical Center, Department of Dietetics and Nutrition, 3901 Rainbow Blvd, MS, 4013, Kansas City, KS, 66160, USA, United States
University of Florence, Department of Health Science, viale GB Morgagni 48, 50134, Florence, Italy
Publication date: 2023-04-26
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A1861
Background and Objective:
Malnutrition with weight loss in cancer patients (CPs) represents one of the most important problems to prevent and treat. Cancer-associated malnutrition is mainly due to the tumor itself and/or to treatments, and can lead to cachexia, which is responsible for up to 20% of cancer deaths. The informal caregivers (ICs) play a key role in the management of CPs. In particular, a good level of ICs’ nutritional literacy (NL) is essential to help CPs in facing malnutrition and improve their quality of life. The aim of our study is to measure NL level of ICs of CPs.

We designed a 12-month cross-sectional study that will include 400 ICs of CPs of the Veneto Institute of Oncology in Padua. The Italian version of the Nutrition Literacy Assessment Instrument (NLit- IT) was used to measure the NL level of ICs. NLit-IT allow identifying three levels of NL: i)probability of low NL; ii)possibility of low NL; iii)possibility of good NL. The study included ICs of both sexes, aged 18- 80, responsible for the diet of the assisted cancer patient.

Currently a sample of, 103 ICs (M=35; F=68) aged 54 (±14.5) participated in the study. Almost half of the participants (48%) were overweight (35%) or obese (13%). After the analysis of the NLit-IT score, 56% (n=58) and 42% (n=43) of the ICs participating in the study showed a probability of low NL and a possibility of low NL, respectively. Significantly lower levels of NL were seen in subjects aged ≥50 (p=0.042) and with low educational level (p=0.039).

Our preliminary results highlighted the need for further investigation into the level of NL of ICs of CPs Furthermore, we argue that it is necessary to develop nutrition promotion interventions to adequately support ICs with limited NL in their care activities.

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