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Am J Public Health. 1988 Sep;78(9):1156-60.

Parent involvement with children's health promotion: the Minnesota Home Team.

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  • 1Division of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis 55455.


This study compares the efficacy of a school-based program to an equivalent home-based program with 2,250 third grade students in 31 urban schools in Minnesota in order to detect changes in dietary fat and sodium consumption. The school-based program, Hearty Heart and Friends, involved 15 sessions over five weeks in the third grade classrooms. The home-based program, the Home Team, involved a five-week correspondence course with the third graders, where parental involvement was necessary in order to complete the activities. Outcome measures included anthropometric, psychosocial and behavioral assessments at school, and dietary recall, food shelf inventories, and urinary sodium data collected in the students' homes. Participation rates for all aspects of the study were notably high. Eighty-six per cent of the parents participated in the Home Team and 71 per cent (nearly 1,000 families) completed the five-week course. Students in the school-based program had gained more knowledge at posttest than students in the home-based program or controls. Students in the home-based program, however, reported more behavior change, had reduced the total fat, saturated fat, and monounsaturated fat in their diets, and had more of the encouraged foods on their food shelves. The data converge to suggest the feasibility and importance of parental involvement for health behavior changes with children of this age.

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