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“Mas y Menos” Program Increased Fruit and Vegetable Consumption in Latino Families and School-Age Children

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Researchers at the University of Illinois demonstrated that a family-based intervention in healthy eating had significant results in improving overall diet.

Families with school-age children (ages 6-13) focused on a six-week healthy eating pilot program aimed at making small changes and substitutions in Latino families decreased the number of sugar-sweetened beverages by 50 percent and increased fruit and vegetable consumption.

The report, published in The Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, details the steps to progress, by engaging the entire family and using the “mas y menos” or “a little more, a little less” principles. Swapping out lard and substituting in vegetable oil, for example was one small change, as was reducing (not eliminating) the number of days family members ate ice cream.

“Interventions often fail because their goals are too lofty. If someone tells me that ice cream is the root of my problem and I can’t eat any more of it, I’ll be disheartened and say I can’t do this,” said Angela Wiley, a professor of applied family studies at University of Illinois. “If someone says, would you be willing to eat ice cream two days a week instead of five, or eat light ice cream instead, I would be more willing to try.”
Salud Today Blog Interview with Angela Wiley, study author.


In the study, 73 families participated. At the beginning of the study, nearly one in five children ate no fruit, and nearly two out of three ate less than a serving of vegetables daily.

Read the study here.


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