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Eat for Life

Program Synopsis

Designed to improve dietary habits among African Americans, this church-based intervention includes a cookbook, videotape, and tailored telephone calls to motivate behavior change. The study showed an increase in fruit and vegetable consumption.

Program Highlights

Purpose: Community-based program designed to promote healthy dietary habits (2001).
Age: 19-39 Years (Young Adults), 40-65 Years (Adults), 65+ Years (Older Adults)
Sex: Female, Male
Race/Ethnicity: Black (not of Hispanic or Latino Origin)
Program Focus: Behavior Modification
Population Focus: Faith-Based Groups
Program Area: Diet/Nutrition
Delivery Location: Religious Establishments
Community Type: Rural, Suburban, Urban/Inner City
Program Materials

Preview, download, or order free materials on a CD

Program Scores

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RE-AIM Scores

A diet rich in fruits and vegetables conveys benefits, including reduced risks of several cancers, heart disease, and stroke.  Increasing Americans' consumption of fruits and vegetables is a national health priority.  Similar to other Americans, African Americans consume fewer than the recommended five to nine servings per day.  Ethnic and geographic differences between African Americans and White Americans regarding which types fruits and vegetables are consumed and how they are prepared are well established.  African Americans may also differ in the factors that influence their fruit and vegetable intake.  As a delivery venue for health promotion interventions, churches have the potential to reach and engage African Americans in efforts to increase fruit and vegetable consumption.

The Eat for Life program is a church-based, intervention that uses motivational interviewing to increase fruit and vegetable consumption among African Americans.  Tailored materials for the program also are provided and include the following: an Eat for Life cookbook to motivate healthy eating and address obstacles to fruit and vegetable consumption, and a videotape featuring biblical and spiritual themes related to fruits and vegetables.  Finally, key to the intervention are three telephone calls that use motivational interviewing techniques to motivate behavior change.

Delivery time varies because the intervention is self-administered and the calls can vary by individual needs.  The videotape is 23 minutes long and the motivational telephone calls usually take 15 minutes each.

Participants who tested this program were African Americans aged 18-87 years from the greater Atlanta region.  Approximately two-thirds were female, 45% earned $39,999 or more per year, and one-third completed college.

The intervention is suitable for implementation in the home.  For the study, participants were recruited through the church.

The video, ''Forgotten Miracles'', the Eat for Life cookbook, and a motivational interviewing manual are required.  Costs associated with the program's implementation are not provided.

Fourteen African American churches in the Atlanta metropolitan area were matched on socioeconomic status and size, and randomly assigned to: 1) a comparison group that received standard nutrition education materials; 2) an Eat for Life group that received one telephone cue call; or 3) an Eat for Life group that received one cue call and three counseling calls.  The additional three telephone counseling calls employed motivational interviewing techniques to alter fruit and vegetable consumption.  The first call in both Eat for Life groups served as a cue to use intervention materials.  All Eat for Life participants received the videotape and cookbook. 

Results indicated:

  • Participants who received the Eat for Life program with the motivational interviewing calls consumed more fruits and vegetables than those without the calls and those in the comparison group.

Graph of Study Results

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Updated: 06/16/2020