Increasing fruit and vegetable intake and decreasing fat and sugar intake in families at risk for childhood obesity

Obes Res. 2001 Mar;9(3):171-8. doi: 10.1038/oby.2001.18.


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.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child Nutrition Sciences / education*
  • Diet, Reducing
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage*
  • Dietary Sucrose / administration & dosage*
  • Family
  • Female
  • Fruit*
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Obesity / diet therapy
  • Obesity / prevention & control*
  • Risk Factors
  • Vegetables*


  • Dietary Fats
  • Dietary Sucrose