A positive family history of coronary heart disease alone confers an increased risk, which may be affected by untreated hypercholesterolemia. Dietary counseling is a first-line treatment approach. To determine whether nurse counseling can provide additional benefits over usual physician efforts to lower dietary fat in high-risk persons, 117 apparently healthy adult siblings of persons with premature coronary heart disease were counseled by a registered nurse using adapted national guidelines. Reductions in total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol were significantly greater in the nurse group compared to those in the usual care group. Total fat intake decreased by 14 g in the nurse group, compared with an increase of 5 g in the usual care group (p=0.0001). Assignment to the nurse group was also a significant predictor of a greater reduction in the percentage of total fat calories (p=0.008). The authors conclude that a registered nurse may serve as a complement to usual care in efforts to lower dietary fat and cholesterol in high-risk families. (c)2001 CHF, Inc.