Counseling the family at home can effectively encourager the children to eat healthy. This is specifically true for children suffering from diseases.
Researchers from Finland's University of Turku had found that home-based counseling could lead to healthier eating habits among children with a family history of cardiovascular disease.
Genetic predisposition and unhealthy behaviors are significant risk factors for heart attacks, strokes and related illnesses.
After five counseling sessions spaced over nearly three years, participating children reported eating less fat and salt than other youngsters. The study program was less successful in influencing exercise and smoking habits.
The authors, writing in the latest issue of the American Journal of Health Behavior, believe their focus on high-risk families is unique among studies of family-oriented health education.
The researchers had focused on the Kainuu region of eastern Finland, which has the country's highest rate of early-onset heart disease. By combing through hospital records dating from 1987 to 1995, they had identified adults who had been treated for heart disease, stroke, or high cholesterol, and had invited their families to participate in the study.