Background. The High 5, Low Fat Program (H5LF) for African American parents was developed in partnership with the Parents As Teachers program, and was designed to test a dietary intervention appropriate for national adoption. Methods. H5LF used a group randomized, nested cohort design with 738 parents. Consistent with organizational goals and methods, parent educators delivered a dietary change program via personal visits, newsletters, and group meetings. Primary outcomes were reducing percentage calories from fat and increasing fruit and vegetable consumption among participating parents; intermediate aims included improving in nutrition-related skills and parental modeling of dietary behaviors. Results. H5LF parents achieved a 0.53 increase in fruit and vegetable consumption (P = 0.03), and a higher proportion of H5LF parents reduced their intake to less than 30% calories from fat (χ2 = 4.8, P < 0.03; -1.7% calories from fat, p = 0.07) and improved performance of dietary behaviors (F = 14.2, P = 0.004). Improvements in parental modeling were not statistically significant. Conclusions. H5LF is an effective intervention that is appropriate for national adoption by over 2000 Parents As Teachers sites with the potential to impact dietary intake of African American parents nationwide.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This article presents the outcomes of the High 5, Low Fat Program (H5LF), funded by the National Cancer Institute. H5LF is a culturally appropriate dietary intervention developed in partnership with Parents As Teachers (PAT), a national parent education program free to all parents of children from birth to age 3. The primary goal of PAT is to empower parents as their child’s first and most influential model and teacher by improving parent–child interactions and increasing parents’ knowledge of children’s social and physical development. Parent educators, who generally have at least a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education, receive additional training in child development. The parent educators offer an age-appropriate curriculum through the conduct of multiple home visits and group meetings emphasizing positive parenting skills. PAT has over 2000 sites across all 50 states, offering a route for dissemination of a successful dietary change intervention. Primary outcomes of H5LF included reducing percentage calories from fat and increasing fruit and vegetable consumption among participating parents; intermediate aims included providing H5LF African American parents with nutrition-related skills, and promoting parental modeling of dietary behaviors consistent with accepted dietary guidelines  .
The National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health funded this project (R01 CA68398). Thanks go to Mildred Winter and Barb Sander of the Parents As Teachers National Center, Inc., St. Louis, MO.
- African American parents
- Dietary patterns
- Parental modeling
- Participatory research