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BMC Public Health. 2019 Dec 10;19(1):1657. doi: 10.1186/s12889-019-7930-7.

Child diet and health outcomes of the simple suppers program: a 10-week, 2-group quasi-experimental family meals trial.

Author information

1
Department of Human Sciences, The Ohio State University, 1787 Neil Ave, 313 Campbell Hall, Columbus, OH, 43210, USA. gunther.22@osu.edu.
2
Department of Human Sciences, The Ohio State University, 1787 Neil Ave, 313 Campbell Hall, Columbus, OH, 43210, USA.
3
Present Address: Department of Nutrition, Case Western Reserve University, 10900 Euclid Ave, Wood Building, Cleveland, OH, 44106, USA.
4
Department of Statistics, The Ohio State University, Columbus, USA.
5
Present Address: Information Control Company (ICC), 2500 Corporate Exchange Dr, Columbus, OH, 43231, USA.
6
Division of Epidemiology, The Ohio State University, 1841 Neil Avenue, Cunz Hall, Columbus, OH, 43210, USA.
7
Division of General and Community Pediatrics, Department of Pediatrics, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, University of Cincinnati, 3333 Burnet Avenue, Cincinnati, OH, 45229, USA.
8
Division of Nutritional Sciences, Cornell University, 408 Savage Hall, Ithaca, NY, 14853, USA.
9
Present Address: Food Directions, 1101 K St NW #650, Washington, DC, 20005, USA.
10
Present Address: Albany Medical Center, 43 New Scotland Ave, Albany, NY, 12208, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Racial minority children, particularly from low-income households, are at risk for obesity. Family meals have a protective effect on child nutritional health. However, the current evidence is limited in racial and socioeconomic diversity. The objective of this study was to evaluate the impact of a family meals intervention, Simple Suppers, on improvements in diet and health outcomes from baseline (T0) to post-intervention (T1) in intervention compared to waitlist control participants, and determine retention of change in outcomes among intervention participants at 10-week follow-up (T2).

METHODS:

Simple Suppers was a 10-week family meals intervention implemented as a 2-group quasi-experimental trial. Ten 90-min lessons were delivered weekly. Data were collected at T0 and T1, and from intervention participants at T2. Participants were racially diverse 4-10 year-old children from low-income households. Setting was a faith-based community center. Main outcomes were daily servings of fruit, vegetables, and sugar-sweetened beverages and diet quality; z-scores for body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, systolic and diastolic blood pressure (BP); weight status categories; food preparation skills; and family meals (frequency of dinner, breakfast, TV viewing during meals, meals in dining area). Generalized linear mixed models (GLMMs) and mixed-effects ordinal regression models were used to assess intervention impact (T0:T1). Paired t-tests examined retention of change among intervention participants (T1:T2).

RESULTS:

One hundred forty children enrolled and 126 completed T1 (90% retention); 71 of 87 intervention participants completed T2(79% retention). Mean (SD) age was 6.9(1.9) yr, 62% female, 60% Black, and 42% low-income. Intervention vs waitlist controls had higher food preparation skills (p < 0.001) and lower TV viewing during meals (p = 0.04) at T1.There were no group differences in dietary intake or quality or z-scores for BMI, waist circumference, or BP, however intervention versus waitlist controls experienced a greater change toward healthy weight (p = 0.04) At T2, intervention participants demonstrated a retention of improved food preparation skills.

CONCLUSIONS:

Simple Suppers led to improvements in children's weight status, food preparation skills, and TV viewing during meals, but not diet or z-scores for BMI, waist circumference, or BP. Future research should examine the preventive effects of healthy family mealtime routines in children at greatest risk for obesity.

TRIAL REGISTRATION:

NCT02923050; Simple Suppers Scale-up (S3); Retrospectively registered on Oct 2016; First participant enrolled on Jan 2015.

KEYWORDS:

Blood pressure; Childhood obesity; Family meals; Food preparation skills; Racial minority

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