Randomized trial of a low-intensity dietary intervention in rural residents: the Rural Physician Cancer Prevention Project

Am J Prev Med. 2005 Feb;28(2):162-8. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2004.10.017.


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.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / diet therapy*
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods*
  • Rural Population*
  • Socioeconomic Factors