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Prev Med. 2011 May;52(5):394-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2011.03.001. Epub 2011 Mar 17.

Lifestyle behaviors in black and white women with a family history of breast cancer.

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Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA.



To examine lifestyle behaviors among non-Hispanic black and white women with a family history of breast cancer and determine the extent to which they meet American Cancer Society (ACS) Nutrition and Physical Activity Recommendations for Breast Cancer Prevention.


Cross-sectional data from 44,364 women enrolled in the Sister Study (2009), a study of sisters of women with breast cancer within the U.S., were analyzed. Descriptive statistics and chi-square analyses were used to examine body mass index and lifestyle behaviors (e.g., exercise, diet, and smoking) and to determine percentages of women meeting ACS recommendations.


Black women consumed a lower percentage of calories from fat (mean 36.90% vs. 37.17%) and were more likely to meet ACS alcohol recommendations than whites. White women consumed more fruits and vegetables/day (mean 4.81 vs. 4.41) than black women and were more likely to meet ACS guidelines for physical activity (26.4% vs. 18.2%) and body mass index (42.5% vs. 16.7%).


Despite an elevated risk for breast cancer due to a family history of breast cancer, the majority of women were no more likely than women in the general population to engage in healthy lifestyle behaviors. These women may benefit from lifestyle behavior risk-reduction counseling.

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