A random sample of 501 eligible families was selected from a designated neighborhood in Portland, Oregon, and given the opportunity to join a 5-year intervention program promoting a low-fat and low-cholesterol eating pattern designed to reduce risk for coronary heart disease. Participation entailed three baseline assessments of clinical, dietary, and psychological indices, periodic follow-up measurements, and monthly small group meetings led by psychologists and nutritionists. A prior home health survey allowed comparisons of respondents from joining and nonjoining families in terms of reported health status, health beliefs, health locus of control, knowledge about health and nutrition, and demographic characteristics. Almost half (47%) of all invited families agreed to join this long-term nutrition intervention program and completed the necessary baseline assessments. Factors discriminating joiners and nonjoiners were not generally consistent with the health belief model of preventive health behavior. Joiners were similar to nonjoiners in terms of perceived susceptibility to disease, family health histories, and reports of elevated plasma cholesterol levels in the family. However, families with hypertensive members were less likely to join this heart disease prevention program. Positive predictors of participation included higher occupational status, greater knowledge about heart disease, a more internal health locus of control, and the belief that there are few barriers preventing the adoption of a healthier low-fat eating pattern. These findings indicate that there is widespread community interest in optimal nutrition, and they also provide suggestions as to what motivates the general public to take preventive health actions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health