Beneficial effects of short-term nutritional counselling at the primary health-care level among Brazilian adults

Public Health Nutr. 2005 Oct;8(7):820-5. doi: 10.1079/phn2005737.


Objective: To evaluate the impact of a low-cost nutritional intervention in changing the lifestyle of adults.

Design: Randomised clinical trial.

Setting: Primary health-care centre in São José do Rio Preto, São Paulo State, Brazil.

Subjects: We randomly assigned 104 adults (83 women and 21 men aged 30-65 years, body mass index 24-35 kg m(-2), non-diabetic) into two groups: nutrition counselling and control. Each subject in the intervention group received three individualised nutritional counselling sessions during the first 6 months aimed at increasing intakes of fruits, vegetables and olive oil, reducing saturated fat and improving physical activity. Body composition, biochemical indicators and lifestyle were assessed at baseline and at 6 months and 1 year in both groups.

Results: After 6 months of follow-up, body weight, waist circumference, diastolic blood pressure, fasting blood glucose, total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, total and saturated fat, and dietary energy and cholesterol levels showed a more significant decrease among subjects in the intervention group than in the control group (P < 0.05). Moreover, the intervention group showed significantly greater improvement in each intervention goal, such as reduced intake of saturated fat and increased intakes of fruits, vegetables, fibre and olive oil (P < 0.05). After 12 months of follow-up, most of the outcomes were maintained.

Conclusions: The low-cost nutritional intervention programme improved serum lipids profile and weight control, and appeared to be feasible for use at a primary health-care centre in a developing country.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Blood Chemical Analysis
  • Body Composition*
  • Brazil
  • Counseling / economics
  • Counseling / methods*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Education
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutritional Sciences / education*
  • Primary Health Care* / economics
  • Primary Health Care* / methods
  • Primary Health Care* / standards
  • Program Evaluation*