Food Consumption Behavior and Nutritional Status Among Persons with Head and Neck Cancer


  • Orawan Ruanmee Faculty of Nursing, Chiang Mai University
  • Pratum Soivong Faculty of Nursing, Chiang Mai University
  • Patcharaporn Aree Faculty of Nursing, Chiang Mai University


Food consumption behaviors, Nutritional status, Persons with head and neck cancer


        Proper food consumption behaviors and nutritional status are essential for persons with head and neck cancer. Their bodies require adequate nutrients and energy in order to endure a continued regimen course to respond to treatment effectively. This descriptive study aimed to explore food consumption behaviors and nutritional status among persons with head and neck cancer who visited the division of therapeutic radiology and oncology outpatient department, Maharaj Nakorn Chiang Mai Hospital. The purposively selected subjects were 126 persons with head and neck cancer. Of these numbers, 63 of them received only radiotherapy and another 63 received chemotherapy in combination with radiotherapy. Research instruments included the Food Consumption Behavior among Persons with Head and Neck Cancer Questionnaire, and the Nutritional Status Data Record Form. The research instruments were approved for their quality prior to data collection. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics.

        The results showed that:

  1. The overall food consumption behaviors among persons with head and neck cancer receiving only radiotherapy and chemotherapy in combination with radiotherapy were at a high level (80.16%). In determination by dimensions, it was found that food consumption behaviors regarding eating habits and food that should be taken, and taboo food were at a high level, at 68.25% and 85.71%, respectively.
  2. The overall nutritional status of the subjects receiving only radiotherapy and chemotherapy in combination with radiotherapy were at a normal level (46.83%), at a lower than normal level (33.33%), at a higher than normal level (9.52%), and at risk of a higher than normal level (10.32%). In regards to protein, it was revealed that the subjects were at a normal level (7.14%), and had protein deficiency (92.86%) which was categorized into mild, moderate, and severe protein deficiency (11.11%, 21.43%, and 60.32%, respectively).

        The results of this study show preliminary data of overall food consumption behaviors and nutritional status among persons with head and neck cancer receiving only radiotherapy and chemotherapy in combination with radiotherapy at a high level. Overall nutritional status is at a normal level, but protein deficiency is severe. Thus, a care model for promotion of nutritional status in protein among persons with head and neck cancer should be developed.


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