HOME Plus: Program design and implementation of a family-focused, community-based intervention to promote the frequency and healthfulness of family meals, reduce children's sedentary behavior, and prevent obesity

Colleen Flattum, Michelle Draxten, Melissa Horning, Jayne A. Fulkerson, Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, Ann Garwick, Martha Y. Kubik, Mary Story

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Background: 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. Methods: 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. Results: 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. Conclusions: Findings support the value of a community-based, family-focused intervention program to promote family meals, limit screen time, and prevent obesity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number53
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 29 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study and publication was supported by Grant R01DK08400 by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the NIH. Software support was provided by the University of Minnesota’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute (Grant 1UL1RR033183) from the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) of the NIH. The HOME Plus trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov (Identifier: NCT01538615). The authors wish to thank Linda Fancher for her help in delivering program sessions so effectively, the students and volunteers from the University of Minnesota, parents and children participating in the study, UMN Extension Service, Minneapolis Park and Recreation, Bonnie Dudovitz for her contribution to the intervention design and Kayla Dean for her ongoing assistance throughout the program. The authors also acknowledge staff from the participating recreation centers (Armatage, Kenwood, Longfellow, Pearl, Van Cleve and Waite) in Minneapolis for their assistance in program recruitment and delivery.

Publisher Copyright:
© Flattum et al.; licensee BioMed Central.


  • Behavioral intervention
  • Dietary quality
  • Family meals
  • Motivational interviewing
  • Obesity prevention


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