Randomized trial of a brief dietary intervention to decrease consumption of fat and increase consumption of fruits and vegetables

Am J Health Promot. 2002 Jan-Feb;16(3):129-34. doi: 10.4278/0890-1171-16.3.129.


Purpose: This study tested the efficacy of a computer-assisted counseling intervention to reduce diet-related cancer risk.

Design: Randomized controlled trial.

Subjects: Healthy women HMO members (n = 616) aged 40 to 70.

Intervention: Participants were randomly assigned to nutrition intervention or an attention-control intervention unrelated to diet. Intervention consisted of two 45-minute counseling sessions plus two 5- to 10-minute follow-up telephone contacts. Counseling sessions included a 20-minute, interactive, computer-based intervention using a touchscreen format. Intervention goals were reducing dietary fat and increasing consumption of fruit, vegetables, and whole grains.

Measures: Twenty-four hour diet recalls and the Fat and Fiber Behavior Questionnaire (FFB).

Results: Four-month follow-up data were collected from 94% of the intervention participants and 91% of the controls. Testing with a multivariate general linear models analysis showed improvements on all dietary outcome variables. Compared to the control, intervention participants reported significantly less fat consumption (2.35 percentage points less for percentage of energy from fat), significantly greater consumption of fruit and vegetables combined (1.04 servings per day), and a significant reduction in a behavioral measure of fat consumption (.24 point change in the FFB).

Conclusions: These 4-month results are comparable to several other moderate-intensity studies showing that, in the appropriate circumstances, moderate-intensity dietary interventions can be efficacious. Study limitations include the short follow-up period and the use of self-reported outcome measures.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Behavior Therapy
  • Computers*
  • Counseling / methods*
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Fruit*
  • Health Maintenance Organizations
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutritional Sciences / education*
  • Oregon
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Vegetables*


  • Dietary Fats