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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Title: Telephone intervention promoting weight-related health behaviors

item Kim, Youngmee
item Pike, Joanne
item Adams, Heather
item Cross, Di
item Doyle, Colleen
item Foreyt, John

Submitted to: Preventive Medicine
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/16/2009
Publication Date: 3/1/2010
Citation: Kim, Y., Pike, J., Adams, H., Cross, D., Doyle, C., Foreyt, J. 2010. Telephone intervention promoting weight-related health behaviors. Preventive Medicine. 50(3):112-117.

Interpretive Summary: This study was designed to increase fruit and vegetable consumption and physical activity and to improve weight management in a worksite environment via either print materials or additional telephone counseling sessions. Participants, who were recruited from companies and community organizations nationwide, were randomized to either a self-help (SH) group or a self-help plus counseling (SH+C) group. The SH group received print materials including 3 books and a pedometer. The books provided information about nutrition, physical activity, and the behavior change process. The books also included tools and resources, such as food journals, grocery lists, and recipes. The SH+C group received the same print materials as those in the SH, but they also received 9 telephone counseling sessions over the course of 6 months. The counseling sessions were tailored to the participants’ unique needs for setting goals and improving diet and physical activity. Results indicate that overweight and obese participants in both groups increased their fruit and vegetable consumption and decreased their weight from baseline to the 6-month follow-up. The SH+C intervention showed substantially greater increases in fruit and vegetable consumption than what has been found in similar studies. The findings of this study demonstrate that modest telephone counseling in addition to printed self-help materials are effective in promoting healthy diet and weight loss. These results are promising given that interventions that can be implemented on a large scale, such as this one, can make important contributions to improving public health.

Technical Abstract: Recent national surveys have documented that the majority of adults in the United States do not meet the recommended levels of healthy lifestyle-related behaviors. The Nutrition and Physical Activity (NuPA) study was designed to promote fruit and vegetable consumption, physical activity, and weight management for a working population. Data were collected nationwide, USA, from 2005 to 2007 and analyzed in 2008. A total of 2470 employed participants were randomized into the self-help (SH: n=1191) or self-help plus telephone counseling (SH+C: n=1279) group. The SH+C group received nine structured telephone counseling sessions in addition to the print materials. A series of hierarchical regression analyses for each of the health behavior outcomes in the present-at-follow-up subsample (n=1098-1148) revealed that the SH+C was effective in increasing fruit and vegetable consumption. Among the overweight and obese participants, weight loss was significant in both the SH and SH+C groups. Using a theory-based behavioral change counseling technique and targeting multiple health behaviors among employed individuals, our findings demonstrate that the addition of telephone counseling to mailed self-help materials is effective in promoting healthy diet and weight management.

Last Modified: 10/17/2017
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