Contact: Chelsea Fisher, or 212-799-3894 


January, 9 2015



Study Shows Hands-on Cooking Classes Help Latina

Cancer Survivors Make Positive, Sustainable Dietary Changes


Culturally adapted cooking classes and nutrition interventions designed by Cook For Your Life achieve higher fruit and vegetable intake amongst Latina breast cancer survivors. 

New York, NY- Good nutrition is crucial for maintaining a healthy cancer survivorship, but many survivors fail to improve their diets post-treatment. A recent study finds that cooking classes and nutrition intervention can inspire and sustain healthy eating in breast cancer survivors.

Dr. Heather Greenlee, a researcher at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health in partnership with the New York City-based, not-for-profit organization Cook for Your Life, have published the results of afood intervention sponsored by the National Cancer Institute, targeting Latina breast cancer survivors whose diets put them at higher risk of high obesity rates, low physical activity rates, and poorer access to quality healthcare. The study shows that the nearly 3 dozen Latina breast cancer survivors who participated increased the amount of targeted fruits and vegetables intake by over 2.5 servings a day over the control group. This is well within the American Cancer Society’s recommended 5-9 servings per day to improve clinical outcomes.

Cook For Your Life (CFYL), which was founded by Ann Ogden Gaffney, a breast and kidney cancer survivor, helped the fellow survivors use home cooking as a way to eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables and maintain these changes through programs going forward.

According to the American Cancer Society, only 18 percent of breast cancer survivors meet the recommended number of daily fruits and vegetable servings, and even fewer survivors of lower socio-economic status are likely to adhere to guidelines. Of the current estimated 12 million cancer survivors in the U.S., approximately 5 percent are Hispanic.

“We found that nutritional information just wasn’t being tailored to fit the cultural needs of NYC’s Latina breast cancer community,” said Gaffney, who is also the CFYL president. “We designed ¡Cocinar Para Su Salud! to meet those needs, to make an increased intake of fresh fruits and vegetables more practical and more accessible to these women. It’s exciting that we succeeded.”

Findings are available online in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Columbia co-investigators on the study included Dr. Heather Greenlee; Dawn Hershman, MD, MS, associate professor of Epidemiology; Katherine Crew, MD, MS, assistant professor of Medicine and Epidemiology; Pam

Koch, PhD, Center for Food, Education & Policy; and Isobel Contento, PhD, Rose Professor in Nutrition and Education.


Cook for Your LIFE is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve the health of people touched by cancer by giving them the practical knowledge, tools, and inspiration to cook their way through treatment and into a healthy survivorship.



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