Feasibility and effectiveness of in-home behavioral economic strategies to increase vegetable intake among low-income children

Poor dietary behaviors put children at risk for obesity. The purpose of this intervention is to determine which behavioral economic strategies increase vegetable consumption among low-income children (9-12 years) in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area. Caregivers (n=44) are randomly assigned 6 (of 10) in-home behavioral economic strategies; one new strategy/week to be completed at 3 dinner meals for a total of 6 weeks. An example strategy is to make vegetables more available and visible than other foods during dinner. Intervention and control group (n=20) caregivers record child vegetable intake at 3 dinner meals and report intakes weekly to a trained researcher via telephone or in person. Researchers also inquire about barriers (e.g. lack of availability) and facilitators (e.g. time) for implementing strategies. Child vegetable liking, vegetable home inventory data, and three 24-dietary recalls are also collected at baseline and immediately after the intervention. Most children reported liking more than 5 vegetable types; often the same vegetables available in the home and prepared by caregivers at dinner meals. Mean vegetable intake is being compared for each strategy across intervention and control groups to determine the effectiveness of each. The 6 most effective will be incorporated into the Cooking Matters for Families nutrition education program to increase vegetable intake among children.