Study recruitment was launched in November 2010 and recruitment closed July, 2011. A total of 230 overweight mothers participated in the study that was based at the NIH Clinical Center. Mothers were receptive to the virtual buffet and reported perceiving the setting and food items to be highly realistic in appearance. At baseline, despite their positive family history for obesity, mothers perceived their children to be at relatively low risk of becoming obese during childhood and into adulthood. Final analyses were conducted on the sample of 212 mothers who completed all assessments. Mothers who were randomized to receive behavioral risk information and a family health history-based risk assessment filled the index childs plate with an average of 45 fewer calories than those in the Control arm;those who received behavioral risk information only filled the plate with 35 fewer calories than the Control arm, a non-significant difference. Calorie restriction was greatest among mothers who received family health history-based risk in which the mother's weight status was the sole contributing risk i.e., mother was the only overweight parent). The influence of communicating a childs inherited risk of obesity on mothers feeding practices may vary by the risk level conveyed. We concluded that family health history risk messages may best be coupled with strategies to increase mothers perceptions that efforts can be undertaken to reduce risk and build requisite behavioral skills to reduce risk. We presented these findings at the International Society of Behavioral Medicine in Budapest, Hungary in August 2012. Additionally, the study findings were published in spring 2013. Additional manuscripts are in preparation that explore how genetic risk influenced mother's feelings of guilt, factors associated with mother's food choices for boy versus girl children, and factors influencing selection of sweetened beverages.

Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
National Human Genome Research Institute
Zip Code
McBride, C M; Persky, S; Wagner, L K et al. (2013) Effects of providing personalized feedback of child's obesity risk on mothers' food choices using a virtual reality buffet. Int J Obes (Lond) 37:1322-7
McBride, Colleen M; Bryan, Angela D; Bray, Molly S et al. (2012) Health behavior change: can genomics improve behavioral adherence? Am J Public Health 102:401-5
Tercyak, Kenneth P; Hensley Alford, Sharon; Emmons, Karen M et al. (2011) Parents' attitudes toward pediatric genetic testing for common disease risk. Pediatrics 127:e1288-95
Wade, Christopher H; Wilfond, Benjamin S; McBride, Colleen M (2010) Effects of genetic risk information on children's psychosocial wellbeing: a systematic review of the literature. Genet Med 12:317-26