Improving dietary behavior in African Americans: The Parents As Teachers High 5, Low Fat Program

Debra Haire-Joshu, Ross C. Brownson, M. S. Nanney, Cheryl Houston, Karen Steger-May, Kenneth Schechtman, Wendy Auslander

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Background. The High 5, Low Fat Program (H5LF) for African American parents was developed in partnership with the Parents As Teachers program, and was designed to test a dietary intervention appropriate for national adoption. Methods. H5LF used a group randomized, nested cohort design with 738 parents. Consistent with organizational goals and methods, parent educators delivered a dietary change program via personal visits, newsletters, and group meetings. Primary outcomes were reducing percentage calories from fat and increasing fruit and vegetable consumption among participating parents; intermediate aims included improving in nutrition-related skills and parental modeling of dietary behaviors. Results. H5LF parents achieved a 0.53 increase in fruit and vegetable consumption (P = 0.03), and a higher proportion of H5LF parents reduced their intake to less than 30% calories from fat (χ2 = 4.8, P < 0.03; -1.7% calories from fat, p = 0.07) and improved performance of dietary behaviors (F = 14.2, P = 0.004). Improvements in parental modeling were not statistically significant. Conclusions. H5LF is an effective intervention that is appropriate for national adoption by over 2000 Parents As Teachers sites with the potential to impact dietary intake of African American parents nationwide.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)684-691
Number of pages8
JournalPreventive Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2003


  • Adoption
  • African American parents
  • Dietary patterns
  • Dissemination
  • Parental modeling
  • Participatory research


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