Poster Topical Area: Community and Public Health Nutrition

Location: Auditorium

Poster Board Number: 130

P06-109 - A controlled-intervention trial to increase child vegetable intake through parent-implemented behavioral strategies

Monday, Jun 11
8:00 AM – 3:00 PM


To determine whether a parent-child vegetable cooking skills program and parent-led strategies informed by behavioral economics improved dietary and non-dietary outcomes of a racially and ethnically diverse sample of low-income children (ages 9-12) more than a vegetable cooking skills program alone.


A nonrandomized, controlled trial compared a weekly cooking skills program enhanced to emphasize vegetable preparation, procurement and intake (control group) with the same weekly cooking skills program plus parent-led strategies (1/week over 6 weeks) (intervention group). The primary outcomes were total vegetable intake, dietary quality (HEI scores), total energy intake, vegetable liking, variety of vegetables tried, and BMI-z score of the children, as well as home availability of vegetables. Outcome measures were collected at baseline, immediate post-course, 6 and 12 months follow-up. Mixed model regression analysis with fixed independent effects (group, time point, and group x time interaction) compared outcomes between groups. To compare treatment groups over time, 3 change-over-time outcome measurements from baseline to immediate post-course, from baseline to 6-mo follow-up, and from baseline to 12-mo follow-up were created for the primary outcomes. Adjusted mixed models were also used for the change-over-time outcomes. A total of 103 parent/child pairs (intervention = 49, control = 54) were enrolled and 91 (intervention = 44, control = 47) completed the weekly cooking skills program.


The intervention did not improve total vegetable intake, dietary quality, or BMI-z score. Intervention children increased dark green vegetable intake from immediate post-course to 12 months. There were significant between-group differences for number of vegetables tried for all 3 change-over-time measures. Mean vegetable liking decreased over time for both control and intervention children.


The findings from this study suggest the evaluated strategies may not be effective in low-income population and may used to improve behavioral economics-informed in-home interventions. Given the limited research on behavioral economic strategies for improving diet, more research is clearly warranted.

Funding Source:

This project was supported by Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Grant no. 2012-68001-19631 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Program Name: Childhood Obesity Prevention: Integrated Research, Education, and Extension to Prevent Childhood Obesity. Program Code: A2101.

CoAuthors: Zata Vickers, PhD – University of Minnestoa; Allison Ritter, MS, RD – University of Minnesota; Traci Mann, PhD – University of Minnesota; Redden Joseph, PhD – University of Minnesota; Elton Mykerezi, PhD – University of Minnesota; Aaron Rendahl, PhD – University of Minnesota; Cynthia Davey, MS – University of Minnesota; Marla Reicks, PhD, RD – University of Minnesota

Francine M. Overcash

Postdoctoral Fellow
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
Minneapolis, Minnesota