Having a nutrition coach actively coach
families on how to make healthy changes in their diet appears
to help parents and their children improve their nutritional
intake, researchers found.
"Family coaching was well accepted," Damien
Paineau stated, "suggesting that dietary changes
may be sustained in the long term and may lead to improved
However, while dietary coaching led to decreased weight
gain among parents, it did not improve overall indicators
of obesity among children, leading Paineau and colleagues
to suggest that primary prevention of childhood obesity
should not be limited to dietary intervention.
Paineau, manager of scientific studies and coaching for
Nutri-Health, in Rueil-Maimaison, France,
and colleagues assessed how two dietary coaching interventions,
compared with a control group receiving no coaching, impacted
the nutritional intake of 1,013 elementary school children
and 1,013 of their parents.
Over an 8-month school year, the two coached groups were
advised how to reduce dietary fats to less than 35 percent
and increase complex carbohydrates to more than 50 percent
of total energy intake. One group was additionally coached
to reduce sugar intake.
The coached participants had access to a website with
self-administered questionnaires on diet, physical activity,
meal preparation, and quality of life. The intervention
groups also received monthly, 30-minute telephone calls
from a trained dietician who discussed family eating habits
and provided individualized dietary advice, but offered
no exercise recommendations.
According to a report in the Archives
of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, at the end
of the intervention period, children and parents in the
coached groups reached nutritional targets for fat intake;
the children in the coached groups and about 46 percent
of their parents met the targets for carbohydrate intake;
and sugar intake decreased in the group coached to reduce
dietary sugar consumption.
Dietary coaching that accounts for family characteristics
such as social, educational, and economic status, as well
as food preferences, allows for rapid improvement of dietary
intakes, the investigators note. Such coaching may induce
sustainable nutritional changes, they conclude.
SOURCE: Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine,