Study Overview

HOME (Healthy Home Offerings via the Mealtime Environment) Plus was a research study. The study tested a program for children ages 8-12 years and their parents. Families came to program sessions at Minneapolis Park and Recreation centers. The study aims were to prevent extra weight gain in children. HOME Plus encouraged families to have healthful food at home and to cook and eat healthful meals together.

Some of the important findings from the HOME Plus study have been shared in these papers. The full articles can be accessed on the Scientific Papers and Presentations page of this website.

Parental role modeling of fruits and vegetables at meals and snacks is associated with children's adequate consumption.

By Michelle Draxten, Jayne A. Fulkerson, Sarah Friend, Colleen Flattum, and Robin Schow 

Key finding: Kids in HOME Plus who said their parents ate vegetables for snacks and dinner were more likely to eat enough fruits and vegetables each day.

Take home message: “Be a good role model for your children and eat your vegetables.” 

Comparing Childhood Meal Frequency to Current Meal Frequency, Routines and Expectations Among Parents.

By Sarah Friend, Jayne A. Fulkerson, Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, Ann Garwick, Colleen Flattum, and Michelle Draxten

Key finding: Parents who ate family meals often when they were kids were more likely to have family meals now.

Take home message: “Eat family meals often and your children will be more likely to do the same for their families in the future.”

An Example of How to Supplement Goal Setting to Promote Behavior Change for Families Using Motivational Interviewing.

By Michelle Draxten, Colleen Flattum, and Jayne A. Fulkerson

Key finding:Setting a goal helped families make healthy behavior changes.

Take home message: “Decide as a family to set a healthy goal and work on it together.”

Promoting healthful family meals to prevent childhood obesity: HOME Plus, a randomized controlled trial

By Jayne A. Fulkerson, Sarah Friend, Colleen Flattum, Melissa Horning, Michelle Draxten, Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, Olga Gurvich, Mary Story, Ann Garwick, and Martha Kubik

Key findings: Parents in HOME Plus were more aware of how much they ate and fed their families after the program.

Take home message: “Learn the portion sizes of different foods for adults and children.” 

Reasons parents buy prepackaged, processed meals: It is more complicated than "I don't have time."

By Melissa Horning, Jayne A. Fulkerson, Sarah Friend, and Mary Story

Key Findings:  Parents with more meal planning skills bought less unhealthy prepackaged, processed foods.

Take home message: “Make time to plan out meals for your family.”

Family Dinner Food Sources, Food Served at Family Dinner and Associations with Parent and Child Weight and Child Dietary Quality Outcomes. 

By Sarah Friend, Jayne A. Fulkerson, Melissa Horning M, and Dianne Neumark-Sztainer

Key findings:  When a salad was served at least once a week at family dinner, parents and children ate more fruits and vegetables and had healthier weights.

Take home message: “Try serving a leafy-green salad at dinner at least once a week.” 

Directive and non-directive food-related parenting practices: Associations between an expanded conceptualization of food-related parenting practices and child dietary intake and weight outcomes.

By Katie Loth, Jayne A. Fulkerson, Sarah Friend, Melissa Horning, and Dianne Neumark-Sztainer

Key findings: Kids ate better if they had parents who role modeled healthy eating and kept unhealthy foods out of their house.

Take home message: “Instead of nagging your kids about what they eat, keep healthy foods in your home and serve them at meals and snacks.”

An exploration of how family dinners are served and how service style is associated with dietary and weight outcomes in children.

By Katie Loth, Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, Melissa Horning, Sarah Friend and Jayne A. Fulkerson

Key findings: When parents put food on kid’s plates, kids did not eat better.

Take home message: “Serve dinner family style and let your children decide how much of each food to eat.”

Dinnertime Rituals and Routines, Environment and Parent Media Use Moderate the Impact of Family Dinner Frequency on Child and Parent BMI.

By Melissa Horning, Robin Schow, Sarah Friend, Katie Loth, Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, and Jayne A. Fulkerson

Key findings: Families who ate together often and had a positive routine around family meals had kids with healthy weights. 

Take home message: “If you are not eating family meals often, try to have a few more family meals each week.  If you do eat family meals often, keep dinner positive and turn off the TV and phones at meals.”

HOME Plus: Program design and implementation of a family-focused, community-based intervention program to promote the frequency and healthfulness of family meals, reduce children’s sedentary behaviors, and childhood obesity.

By Colleen Flattum, Michelle Draxten, Melissa Horning, Jayne A. Fulkerson, Dianne  Neumark-Sztainer, Mary Story, Ann Garwick, Martha Kubik

Key findings: Kids said they were more likely to try new foods and eat more healthful foods after finishing the HOME Plus sessions. Both parents and kids said cooking together was one of the best parts of HOME Plus.

Take home message: “Have your child help prepare meals and teach them cooking skills.”

Key findings: Kids who were in the HOME Plus sessions said taste testing new fruits was one of the best parts of the program.

Take home message: “Try new and different fruits that you have not had before or do not have very often.

Parent weekend but not week day TV-viewing time associated with rule-setting to limit the TV-viewing time of 8 to 12 year olds.

By Martha Kubik, Olga Gurvich, and Jayne A. Fulkerson

Key Findings: Parents who watched less TV on the weekends also set rules to limit their kid’s TV watching.

Take home message: “Watch less TV on the weekends and be active as a family instead.”