Involvement in meal preparation and eating meals with one’s family are associated with better dietary quality and healthy body weight for youth. Given the poor dietary quality of many youth, potential benefits of family meals for better nutritional intake and great variation in family meals, development and evaluation of interventions aimed at improving and increasing family meals are needed. This paper presents the design of key intervention components and process evaluation of a community-based program (Healthy Home Offerings via the Mealtime Environment (HOME) Plus) to prevent obesity.
The HOME Plus intervention was part of a two-arm (intervention versus attention-only control) randomized-controlled trial. Ten monthly, two-hour sessions and five motivational/goal-setting telephone calls to promote healthy eating and increasing family meals were delivered in community-based settings in the Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN metropolitan area. The present study included 81 families (8-12 year old children and their parents) in the intervention condition. Process surveys were administered at the end of each intervention session and at a home visit after the intervention period. Chi-squares and t-tests were used for process survey analysis.
The HOME Plus program was successfully implemented and families were highly satisfied. Parents and children reported that the most enjoyable component was cooking with their families, learning how to eat more healthfully, and trying new recipes/foods and cooking tips. Average session attendance across the ten months was high for families (68%) and more than half completed their home activities.
Findings support the value of a community-based, family-focused intervention program to promote family meals, limit screen time, and prevent obesity.Trial registrationNCT01538615