Increasing Fruit and Vegetable Intake and Decreasing Fat and Sugar Intake in Families at Risk for Childhood Obesity


Division of Behavioral Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, State University of New York, Farber Hall, Room G56, 3435 Main Street, Building No. 26, Buffalo, NY 14214-3000. E-mail:


Objective: The goal of this study was to evaluate the effect of a parent-focused behavioral intervention on parent and child eating changes and on percentage of overweight changes in families that contain at least one obese parent and a non-obese child.

Research Methods and Procedures: Families with obese parents and non-obese children were randomized to groups in which parents were provided a comprehensive behavioral weight-control program and were encouraged to increase fruit and vegetable intake or decrease intake of high-fat/high-sugar foods. Child materials targeted the same dietary changes as their parents without caloric restriction.

Results: Changes over 1 year showed that treatment influenced targeted parent and child fruit and vegetable intake and high-fat/high-sugar intake, with the Increase Fruit and Vegetable group also decreasing their consumption of high-fat/high-sugar foods. Parents in the increased fruit and vegetable group showed significantly greater decreases in percentage of overweight than parents in the decreased high-fat/high-sugar group.

Discussion: These results suggest that focusing on increasing intake of healthy foods may be a useful approach for nutritional change in obese parents and their children.