Healthy Immigrant Families: Randomized Controlled Trial of a Family-Based Nutrition and Physical Activity Intervention

Authors: Mark L. Wieland, Marcelo M. Hanza, Jennifer A. Weis, Sonja J. Meiers, Christi A. Patten, Matthew M. Clark, Jeff A. Sloan, Paul J. Novotny, Jane W. Njeru, Adeline Abbenyi, James A. Levine, Miriam Goodson, Graciela D. Porraz Capetillo, Ahmed Osman, Abdullah Hared, Julie A. Nigon, and Irene G. Sia
2018, Am J Health Promotion


To evaluate healthy eating and physical activity intervention for immigrant families, derived through community-based participation.


Healthy Immigrant Families study, randomized controlled trial with delayed-intervention control group, with families as the randomization unit.


US Midwest city.


Participants recruited by community partners from Hispanic, Somali, and Sudanese immigrant communities.


Family health promoters from participating communities delivered 6 healthy eating modules, 4 physical activity modules, and 2 modules synthesizing information in 12 home visits (60–90 minutes) within first 6 months. Up to 12 follow-up phone calls to each participant occurred within second 6 months.


Primary measures were dietary quality measured with weekday 24-hour recall and reported as Healthy Eating Index score (0–100) and physical activity measured with accelerometers (14 wear days) at baseline, 6, 12, and 24 months. Results—In total, 151 persons (81 adolescents and 70 adults; 44 families) were randomly assigned. At 12 months, significant improvement occurred in Healthy Eating Index score for adults in intervention compared with controls (change, +8.6 vs −4.4; P<.01) and persisted at 24 months (+7.4 from baseline; P<.01).

No differences for adolescents and no significant differences occurred between groups and for physical activity.


This intervention produced sustained dietary quality improvement among adults but not adolescents. Program outcomes are relevant to communities working to decrease cardiovascular risk among immigrant populations.

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