Evaluation of a nutrition education intervention for women residents of Washington, DC, public housing communities

Sharada Shankar, Ann C. Klassen, Elizabeth Garrett-Mayer, Peter S. Houts, Ting Wang, Marlene McCarthy, Richard Cain, Lei Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


We designed, implemented and evaluated an educational intervention to increase fruit and vegetable consumption among urban African-American women. Women aged 20-50 years (n = 212) from 11 public housing communities participated in seven 90-min classes with a professional nutritionist. Our prospective pre- and post-test design, with 4-month follow-up, assessed the relationship between attendance and dietary change, using three 24-hour recalls per time point. Mean change in average daily dietary values for fruits and vegetables, calories and percent calories from fat (post-test versus pre-test, follow-up versus pre-test) was compared by class attendance, to evaluate the impact of class attendance on dietary change. Attendance varied from zero (35%) to five to seven classes (42%). Baseline dietary recalls showed average daily consumption of 3.05 servings of fruits and vegetables, 2416 calories and 35.8% calories from fat. No improvements in fruit and vegetable consumption, but statistically significant decreases in total calories and percent calories from fat, were seen at both endpoints. Women attending five to seven classes had the greatest dietary improvements, averaging, at post-test and follow-up, respectively, 246.2 and 324.5 fewer calories and 3.08 and 2.97% fewer calories from fat. Results suggest that, for some residents of low-resource communities, small group interventions are popular, effective vehicles for nutrition education.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)425-437
Number of pages13
JournalHealth education research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2007

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research project was supported by American Cancer Society grant TURPG-00-294-01-PBP. The authors would also like to acknowledge the enthusiastic support and assistance of the residents and staff of the participating housing communities, as well as the data collection and nutrition education staff. Copies of visual materials used in the nutrition education sessions are available for health education use from the corresponding author on request.


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