What is the HOME Plus Study?
HOME Plus was a research study conducted from 2010 to 2016. HOME stands for Healthy Home Offerings via the Mealtime Environment. The Plus part of the title refers to a focus on reducing media use during meals. The goal of this program was to help families have more healthy foods in their homes and eat more healthful family meals together. One-hundred-sixty children (ages 8-12 years) and their parents participated in the study.
The HOME Plus study was a randomized controlled trial which means that half of the families that participated in the study were randomly assigned (like the flip of a coin) to participate in the HOME Plus program group and some were in a newsletter group. Families in the HOME Plus program group attended hands-on cooking and discussion sessions in their neighboring community centers. Families in the newsletter group received monthly newsletters with recipes and tips for healthful eating and family activities in their communities. Designing the study this way enabled us to see if the families who were in the in-person HOME Plus program had better health outcomes than families who received the newsletters.
All participating 8-12 year old children and one parent per family completed surveys and had their height and weight measured in their home. This data collection was done three times over a two and a half year period. As a thank you, the families received a gift card after each visit.