"During these sessions, parents learn from each other, and kids see other kids cooking and eating different foods," Fulkerson says. "This encourages kids to try new healthful foods."
Creating a healthy home environment:
At the end of the intervention program, the researchers will see if children in the HOME Plus group have improved weight compared to those in the control group. The researchers will also ask participating families if they are eating together more frequently and whether they are serving more healthful foods and beverages at family meals and snacks.
In addition, the project will encourage parents to limit the amount of time children spend watching television or playing computer games.
"When it comes to eating and exercise, parents are the primary role models for children," Fulkerson says. "HOME Plus is unique because it focuses on helping families work together to make the home environment healthier by promoting nutritious family meals and snacks, and reducing inactivity within the home."
Building on success:
HOME Plus uses methods that were successful in the previous HOME pilot project. Six months after that program ended, participating parents reported that their children were more likely to help make dinner, and children reported that they had learned cooking skills. Study findings also showed increased availability of fruits and vegetables in the home and less use of high-fat microwaveable foods. In addition, children tended to eat more fruits and vegetables.
The findings from the pilot project support the notion that families really want to have meals together. "A lot of parents had meals together when they were children," Fulkerson says. "They remember and like that idea. But often they lack nutrition knowledge, cooking skills and time. They would like to get over these barriers and have more nutritious meals in their
|Contact: Aneisha Tucker|
University of Minnesota