Although the burden of cancer is high among individuals of all ethnicities, ethnic differences in cancer incidence and mortality exist. African-Americans experience a higher incidence of certain cancers compared with the White population, with mortality rates at least 40% higher than other populations. Obesity, high fat, and low fruit (F) and vegetable (V) intakes increase cancer risks. Cancers may develop over a long period of time, with some possibly initiating in childhood;therefore, promoting FV and preventing excess weight gain during childhood could be cancer protective. Families influence children's dietary behaviors by direct modeling of dietary behaviors, parenting skills around food, and controlling the home food environment. However, few intervention studies have focused on family influences on dietary behaviors, particularly among ethnic minority groups which may differ in cultural and other aspects of family functioning. Unfortunately, low participation rates for community-based family interventions suggest that alternate intervention delivery systems be investigated. The internet provides family access within the convenience of the home. In a previous R21 application, the Principal Investigator developed an eight-session interactive web-based program promoting a healthy home food environment for African-American families with 9-12 year old daughters (Family Eats). Family Eats was evaluated for feasibility and changes in mediating variables were obtained. This application will test the efficacy of the Family Eats web program to improve FV and dietary fat behavior and weight outcomes among 400 AA families with 9-10 year old children. This important study will pioneer a new channel for behavior change intervention with African-American families and holds the promise of reaching large numbers of children and their families, enabling all to adopt healthy eating behaviors and achieve energy balance and reduce cancer risks.
A proven intervention for healthy eating and obesity prevention, delivered via the internet for African-American families, holds the promise of helping reduce risk factors for cancer. The convenience of the internet will enable large numbers of families to participate and learn skills to adopt healthy eating behaviors that will reduce cancer risk. This is a relatively low cost method for improving health and quality of life.
|Cullen, Karen Weber; Thompson, Debbe; Chen, Tzu-An (2017) Outcome Evaluation of Family Eats. Health Educ Behav 44:32-40|