Improving Home Food Preparation Practices among Families with Young Children: A Peer Mentoring Intervention

Statement of Problem

At mealtime, families nationwide face the conflicting priorities of time, taste, cost, and nutrition, and they often make decisions that undervalue nutrition. More than 2 in 3 U.S. adults are now considered to be overweight or obese, along with nearly 1 in 3 children. But anti-obesity interventions are not one-size-fits-all. In a national study, low-income families were found to be more likely to cook dinner 6 or 7 nights per week compared to their middle- and high-income peers. However, low-income families are also more likely to experience food insecurity and lack of access to healthy foods. Targeted intervention and prevention efforts for low-income families are needed to address the food insecurity and lack of access issues that often get in the way of healthy eating at home.

Improving home food preparation practices among families with young children

1/2 of all African American and Latino children born in the year 2000 will develop diabetes or heart disease.

Our research explores how to foster healthy eating in the home, recognizing that this is a critical, yet underemphasized, component of the obesity epidemic. We are designing, testing, and refining a series of healthy cooking classes for low-income families who participate in Early Head Start. Drawing on best practices and the expertise of our community partners, our program provides one of the few scalable interventions with a peer mentoring component to sustainably target healthy cooking in low-income communities.

Starting with a program in a local Philadelphia community, we intend to demonstrate best practice and then offer others the opportunity to learn from our work and implement similar programs in their own communities.

Suggested Citation

The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, PolicyLab. Improving Home Food Preparation Practices among Families with Young Children: A Peer Mentoring Intervention [Online]. Available at: http://www.policylab.chop.edu [Accessed: plug in date accessed here].