Offspring of parents with a history of cardiovascular disease (CVD) inherit a similar genetic profile and share diet and lifestyle behaviors. This study aimed to evaluate the feasibility of recruiting families at risk of CVD to a dietary prevention program, determine the changes in diet achieved, and program acceptability. Families were recruited into a pilot parallel group randomized controlled trial consisting of a three month evidence-based dietary intervention, based on the Mediterranean and Portfolio diets. Feasibility was assessed by recruitment and retention rates, change in diet by food frequency questionnaire, and program acceptability by qualitative interviews and program evaluation. Twenty one families were enrolled over 16 months, with fourteen families (n = 42 individuals) completing the study. Post-program dietary changes in the intervention group included small daily increases in vegetable serves (0.8 ± 1.3) and reduced usage of full-fat milk (-21%), cheese (-12%) and meat products (-17%). Qualitative interviews highlighted beneficial changes in food purchasing habits. Future studies need more effective methods of recruitment to engage families in the intervention. Once engaged, families made small incremental improvements in their diets. Evaluation indicated that feedback on diet and CVD risk factors, dietetic counselling and the resources provided were appropriate for a program of this type.
Keywords: cardiovascular diseases; diet; health education; prevention.