Being coached by a nutrition expert can help parents and their children make long term changes to their diet, say researchers from France.
In this study, over one thousand families with children were looked at to see how nutrition coaching would affect their diet over an 8-month school year. Coached families were given web access to self-administered surveys on diet, physical activity, meal preparation, and quality of life.
A trained dietitian called the coached families every month to provide personalized advice on how to combat challenging eating habits to meet specific nutrition goals. The goals of nutrition coaching were to reduce dietary fats to less than 35 percent of total calories and increase complex carbohydrates to 50 percent of total calories. One group was also coached to reduce sugar intake.
Families in the coached groups achieved the goals for reduced fat intake. The goal for complex carbohydrate intake was reached by all the children and 46 percent of the parents in the coached families. Sugar intake dropped in the group coached to lower sugar intake.
Families who got no nutrition coaching had significantly fewer improvements in their eating habits.
The researchers believe nutrition coaching that's personalized based on differences in socioeconomic status and food preferences results in quick and lasting changes to a family's eating habits.
These findings are relevant to Canadian families given that over one-third of Canadian children between the ages of 2 and 11 are overweight.
For more information on healthy eating for children, see Leslie Beck's Healthy Eating for Preteen and Teens or check out the personalized nutrition program with Leslie Beck to see if nutrition coaching is right for you and your family.
This study was published in the Archives of Paediatric & Adolescent Medicine.
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