Rochester Healthy Community Partnership of Rochester, MN
Improving the health of underserved populations through proven methods and new ideas
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Healthy Immigrant Families: Randomized Controlled Trial of a Family-Based Nutrition and Physical Activity Intervention

American Journal of Health Promotion 2018, Vol. 32(2) 473-484

Background: The purpose of this study was to evaluate a healthy eating and physical activity intervention for immigrant families, derived through community-based participatory research. 

Methods: Participants were recruited by community partners from Hispanic, Somali, and Sudanese immigrant communities.  Family health promoters from participating communities delivered six healthy eating modules, four physical activity modules, and two modules synthesizing information in 12 home visits (60-90 minutes) within the first six months. Up to 12 follow-up phone calls to each participant occurred within the second six months.  Primary measures were dietary quality measured with weekday 24-hour recall and reported as Healthy Eating Index score (0-100) and physical activity measured with accelerometers (14 wear days) at baseline, 6, 12, and 24 months.

Results: In total, 151 persons (81 adolescents and 70 adults; 44 families) were randomly assigned. At 12 months, significant improvement occurred in Healthy Eating Index scores for adults in the intervention group compared with controls (change, +8.6 vs -4.4; P < .01) and persisted at 24 months (+7.4 from baseline; P < .01). No differences were observed for adolescents and no significant differences occurred between groups for physical activity.

Conclusion: This intervention produced sustained dietary quality improvement among adults but not among adolescents. Program outcomes are relevant to communities working to decrease cardiovascular risk among immigrant populations.

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Nate Nordstrom