Assessment of cancer risk in two rural West Texas communities using anthropometrics, diet, and physical activity
Cancer is the second most common cause of death in the United States and there is increasing evidence that this may be attributed to poor dietary habits and low levels of physical activity. These characteristics may differ in people from rural communities. This study assesses the cancer risk in two rural West Texas communities, Muleshoe and Dalhart, through analyzing anthropometrics, diet, and physical activity of the participants (N=374). Frequencies, Spearman’s rank correlation coefficients, and chi-square tests of anthropometrics and survey variables showed that the participants were predominantly female, white, married, high school graduates, and had a mean body mass index (BMI) of 30.67. Over 80% of participants were overweight or obese. Only 6.4% of the participants consumed five or more servings of fruits or vegetables, and about 21% consumed three or more servings of whole grains a day. The statistical tests did not indicate statistically significant relationships between BMI and waist circumference (WC) and consumption of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. However, there was a significant negative association between BMI of the total sample and of the females and the number of times a week a participant engaged in a sports or exercise program. There were also significant associations between WC of the total sample, of the males, and of the females, and the number of times a week they engaged in a sports or exercise program. Lastly, we found significant associations between WC of the total sample and of the females and the number of times a week they went out for a brisk walk of 10 minutes or more. Assessment of the data indicates a need to further evaluate cancer risk in rural West Texas communities to create interventions addressing increases in fruit, vegetable, and whole grains intake and physical activity levels.