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National Cancer Institute

Diet, Weight, and Physical Activity

Evidence continues to show that lifestyle behaviors can influence the chance of developing disease, such as cancer, even after accounting for other factors such as stress, environment, or smoking. The Health Promotion Research Branch supports individual and community-based intervention research that explores the effect of lifestyle behaviors such as diet, physical activity, obesity/overweight, energy balance, and sun exposure on cancer prevention and control research across the lifespan. Effective strategies to address behavior change of population groups at greater risk for developing select cancers is encouraged.


Linda Nebeling, Ph.D., M.P.H., RD

Tanya Agurs-Collins, Ph.D.

View all Health Promotion Funding Opportunities


National Fruit & Vegetable Program - Fruits & Veggies—More Matters

The National Fruit & Vegetable Program aims to increase the number of fruits and vegetables Americans eat. A daily diet rich in fresh produce promotes good health and may help reduce the risk of stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, and some cancers.

In March 2007, the Five A Day program became the National Fruit and Vegetable Program. The group launched a new public health initiative, Fruits & Veggies�More Matters, in order to reflect the new dietary guidelines, which recommend more than five servings of fruits and vegetables for some Americans. The National Program is a public-private partnership. It is a confederation of government, not-for-profit groups and industry working collaboratively and synergistically to increase the consumption of fruits and vegetables for improved public health.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH) are leading this initiative and are in partnership with other health organizations. The goal is to achieve increased daily consumption of fruits and vegetables.

CDC: Fruits & Veggies—More Matters Exit Disclaimer

Food Attitudes and Behavior (FAB) Survey Project
Staff at NCI developed The Food Attitudes and Behaviors (FAB) Survey so that they could better understand the factors involved with fruit and vegetable intake among U.S. adults. The FAB Survey contains 65 questions in eight sections and measures attitudes and opinions, general health, shopping, fruit and vegetable consumption, eating behaviors, physical activity, sedentary behaviors, food preferences, and demographic data. Conventional constructs include self-efficacy, barriers, social support, and knowledge of recommendations related to fruit and vegetable intake. Novel constructs include shopping patterns, taste preferences, views on vegetarianism, intrinsic/extrinsic motivation, and environmental influences. The FAB Survey was administered using a Consumer Opinion Panel in Fall 2007 and the final sample consisted of 3,397 adults, with an oversampling of African-Americans. The final response rate was 57 percent. The FAB Survey, data, and accompanying materials will be made available shortly. Please check back on the website for more information.


Linda Nebeling, Ph.D., M.P.H., RD

April Oh, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Diet and Communication

Although diet and communication is a well-defined scientific area of research, few studies have examined how communications strategies influence dietary behaviors at multiple levels. The issue of health-related communication strategies and diet is an ongoing topic of discussion and debate across local, state, and federal government agencies, such as the United States Surgeon General�s Office, as well as across the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture. Efforts in this area are needed to overcome the aforementioned dietary misinformation and confusion of the American public. This misinformation and the resulting confusion may have a deleterious impact on the public�s dietary behavior, contributing to the increase in prevalence of obesity and many chronic diseases, including various forms of cancer and cardiovascular diseases. In efforts to promote healthy lifestyles, it is important to explore and optimize the methodologies related to dietary messages and their content at multiple levels and their impact on the public�s dietary behaviors. Research in this area can potentially generate solutions to improve dietary behavior. In 2005, the National Cancer Institute sponsored and then put forward a special issue on the subject in 2007. In 2008, the NCI, along with eight other partnering federal organizations, institutes, and offices issued two Program Announcements to address this research area.


Tanya Agars-Collins

Reports & Publications

Journal Supplement: The Examination of Two Short Dietary Assessment Methods, within the Context of Multiple Behavioral Change Interventions in Adult Populations. The Journal of Nutrition (January 2008, Volume 138, Issue 1). Disclaimer


Integrative Framework for Research in Diet and Communication

Genetics and Weight Loss