For more information contact:

Bob Unell




The Back in the Swing Cookbook

Selected by University of Kansas Research Study

Funded by The National Cancer Institute


(April 11, 2014) The Back in the Swing Cookbook: Recipes for Eating and Living Well Every Day After Breast Cancer, by Barbara Unell and Judith Fertig (Andrews McMeel Publishing), has been selected for use by Rural Women Connecting for Better Health, a randomized controlled trial funded by The National Cancer Institute.

The study, in which obese and overweight breast cancer survivors living in rural areas commit to a 24-month weight management program, focuses on diet, physical activity and quality of life.  Christie Befort Ph. D, the Primary Investigator at The University of Kansas Medical Center, designed this study to focus not only on weight loss, but also on maintaining the weight loss over time.

Throughout the program, the women meet via conference call with a group leader and are encouraged to set goals to help them stay on track.  The study staff developed an incentive program to help motivate participants to meet their physical activity and diet goals.  The Back in the Swing Cookbook serves as one of the incentives provided to the participants who have reached their goals.

“We chose The Back in Swing Cookbook as a way to reward all of the hard work and dedication these ladies put in to meeting their goals and managing their weight,” said Danielle Christifano, MS, Nutritionist for the study. “The colorful pages and delicious recipes help to engage the women to continue to strive to be healthy, happy, and fit!  The book is a great reminder that diet and exercise can be educational, nutritious and delicious all at once.”

The contents of the 288-page book are based on over a decade of work in breast cancer survivorship care by Back in the Swing, a national, non-profit organization, whose mission is to help the nation’s 3 million breast cancer survivors protect and improve their health after treatment.  The book shares the five essential, evidence-based elements of the Back in the Swing Lifestyle:

1.    Breast Cancer Survivor-Specific Medical Care

2.    Movement

3.    Nutrition

4.    Positive emotions

5.    Relaxation/mindfulness

“We are so proud that the KU investigators vetted and selected The Back in the Swing Cookbook, for this research,” said Barbara Unell, founder and President of Back in the Swing USA.  “It is an empowering, informative everyday companion.  Survivors need to know how ‘to live their plan’ in between medical visits to improve and protect their health every day.”

Rural women who are obese at breast cancer diagnosis have a 1.5 increased risk of recurrence and death compared to their normal weight counterparts. Moreover, weight gain and decreased physical activity are common after diagnosis and also increase the likelihood of breast cancer recurrence and death.  Women of the most rural counties also have the highest prevalence of obesity compared to urban women.

To address these disparities, the trial’s objective is to develop a clinically effective and cost efficient strategy for delivering a weight control intervention to rural breast cancer survivors.  The novel approach developed by the KU investigators is a group phone-based treatment via conference call. This method has shown to be effective for initial weight loss among rural breast cancer survivors and more effective than the standard individual phone-based approach among rural women.

“This innovative method of providing group treatment addresses access barriers in rural areas,” said Christie Befort Ph. D, the Primary Investigator for the trial, “and may be especially ideal for rural breast cancer survivors because it provides social support in conjunction with a level of anonymity.”

The Back in the Swing Cookbook was recently awarded Best Cookbook by The International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) in its  “Health and Special Diet” Category. For more information on how to purchase the cookbook and to learn more about Back in the Swing, go to: