Background: Dietary behavior, specifically a low-fat, high-fiber diet, plays a role in the primary prevention of chronic diseases including cancer.
Design: A community-based randomized trial to assess the impact of a low-intensity, physician-endorsed, self-help dietary intervention that provided tailored dietary feedback, and was designed to promote improved fat and fiber behavior in a rural, low-education/low-literacy, partly minority population. The data were collected from 1999 to 2003.
Setting/participants: A total of 754 patients from three physician practices in rural Virginia completed a baseline telephone survey assessing dietary and psychosocial information, and were then randomly assigned to the intervention or control condition. Follow-up telephone evaluation was based on 522 participants at 1 month, 470 at 6 months, and 516 participants at 12 months.
Intervention: A series of tailored feedback, followed by brief telephone counseling and theory-based nutritional education booklets, provided by staggered delivery to the home.
Main outcome measures: Dietary fat and fiber behavior, dietary intentions to change, self-efficacy for dietary change, and fat and fiber knowledge.
Results: The intervention group demonstrated significant improvement in dietary fat and fiber behaviors and intentions to change fat and fiber intake (p <0.05) at 1, 6, and 12 months.
Conclusions: The Rural Physician Cancer Prevention Project provides an effective model for achieving public health-level dietary health behavior changes among a rural, minority, and low-literacy/low-education population.