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Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Title: Parental involvement in interventions to improve child dietary intake: A systematic review

item Hingle, Melanie
item O'connor, Teresia
item Dave, Jayna
item Baranowski, Tom

Submitted to: Preventive Medicine
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/1/2009
Publication Date: 8/1/2010
Citation: Hingle, M.D., O'Connor, T.M., Dave, J.M., Baranowski, T. 2010. Parental involvement in interventions to improve child dietary intake: A systematic review. Preventive Medicine. 51(2):103-111.

Interpretive Summary: A systematic review was conducted of the published literature (n=24 articles) on whether and how involving families in an intervention would increase its impact on children's dietary intake. The general methodological quality of these studies was poor. Only four studies systematically compared involving parents versus not, and found inconsistent outcomes. Directly involving parents in attending education sessions that involved their participation (e.g. goal setting) appeared to have the highest likelihood of influencing child intake. Providing news letters had no effect. More, higher quality research with directly involved interventions is needed to assess whether and how to involve families in child dietary behavior change interventions.

Technical Abstract: Interventions that aim to improve child dietary quality and reduce disease risk often involve parents. The most effective methods to engage parents remain unclear. A systematic review of interventions designed to change child and adolescent dietary behavior was conducted to answer whether parent involvement enhanced intervention effectiveness, and what type of involvement was most effective in achieving desired outcomes. In 2008, Pub Med, Medline, Psych Info, and Cochrane Library databases were searched to identify programs designed to change child and adolescent dietary intake that also involved parents. Methods of parental involvement were categorized based on the type and intensity of parental involvement. These methods were compared against intervention design, dietary outcomes, and quality of reporting (evaluated using CONSORT checklist) for each study. The literature search identified 1774 articles and 24 met review criteria. Four studies systematically evaluated parent involvement with inconsistent results. Indirect methods to engage parents were most commonly used, although direct approaches were more likely to result in positive outcomes. Four studies met >70% of CONSORT items. Limited conclusions may be drawn regarding the best method to involve parents in changing child diet to promote health. However, direct methods show promise and warrant further research.