Food for thought: Pilot randomized controlled trial of lay health trainers supporting dietary change to reduce cardiovascular disease in deprived communities

M. Goodall, G. R. Barton, P. Bower, P. Byrne, J. E. Cade, S. Capewell, C. L. Cleghorn, L. A. Kennedy, A. M. Martindale, C. Roberts, S. Woolf, M. B. Gabbay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background Cardiovascular disease (CVD) accounts for 30% of UK deaths. It is associated with modifiable lifestyle factors, including insufficient consumption of fruit and vegetables (F&V). Lay health trainers (LHTs) offer practical support to help people develop healthier behaviour and lifestyles. Our two-group pilot randomized controlled trial (RCT) investigated the effectiveness of LHTs at promoting a heart-healthy lifestyle among adults with at least one risk factor for CVD to inform a full-scale RCT. Methods Eligible adults (aged 21-78 years), recruited from five practices serving deprived populations, were randomized to health information leaflets plus LHTs' support for 3 months (n = 76) versus health information leaflets alone (n = 38). Results We recruited 114 participants, with 60% completing 6 month follow-up. Both groups increased their self-reported F&V consumption and we found no evidence for LHTs' support having significant added impact. Most participants were relatively less deprived, as were the LHTs we were able to recruit and train. Conclusions Our pilot demonstrated that an LHT's RCT whilst feasible faces considerable challenges. However, to justify growing investment in LHTs, any behaviour changes and sustained impact on those at greatest need should be demonstrated in an independently evaluated, robust, fully powered RCT.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)635-643
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of public health (Oxford, England)
Volume36
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2014

Keywords

  • behaviour change
  • cardiovascular disease
  • CVD
  • lay health trainer
  • life style
  • primary health care

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