The Healthy Eating and Living Against Noncommunicable Diseases Study: An Innovative Family-Based Intervention

Niyati Parekh, Gabrielle Khalife, Natalie Hellmers, Gail D’Eramo Melkus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Inadequate nutrition literacy within families is a barrier for healthy dietary choices and influences chronic disease risk. This pilot study examined the feasibility of providing an in-person nutrition intervention for families at high risk of developing prediabetes or type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular risk-factors. Methods: Eligible families had at least one member with a non-communicable disease (NCD) or metabolic risk factor, fluency in English, willingness to attend all three educational sessions and complete questionnaires as a family unit. Sessions included didactic and experiential activities on food label reading, portion sizing, physical activity and modifiable lifestyle factors to reduce NCD risk. Demographics and fruit and vegetable screeners were collected from all participants at baseline and after completion of sessions. Families participated in focus groups to evaluate the program. Results: Twelve families (n=35;17 adults;18 children) were recruited from New York City. Participants self-identified as Asian, Hispanic or Black. Adults had a mean age of 40y, BMI of 32.29kg/m2, household income of $35,000-$49,000y, and 13 of 17 adult participants had college degrees. Children ranged from 1-17y. Based on focus group feedback, three sessions were acceptable, families reported enjoying interactive activities and group learning and requested child-friendly activities. They reported improved knowledge of food labels, strategies for grocery shopping, portion-sizing, and increased awareness of the links between diet quality and NCDs. Conclusions and Implications: The study met recruitment goals within 4 months. The educational intervention was acceptable and may be scaled-up for future studies on NCD prevention, particularly prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)569-579
Number of pages11
JournalDiabetes Educator
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Health Professions (miscellaneous)


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