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Homestyles is a nutrition education program enabling parents to change lifestyle behaviors and the home environment to combat rising rates of childhood obesity.


HomeStyles was originally developed by Rutgers University in New Jersey to educate parents of preschoolers on healthy habits through 12 instructional guides focusing on positive diets, physical activity, and sleep. A new five year, 4 million dollar USDA grant focuses on continuing to prevent childhood obesity by expanding the program to children 6-11 years of age. In conjunction with Rutgers University and the University of Florida, West Virginia University is working to form parent focused education using a motivational interviewing approach.

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Homestlyes aims to create parent education guides in order to help parents make healthier lifestyle behavior changes in their home environment.


HomeStyles Logo HomeStyles works on the principles of creation, implementation, and evaluation. In order to build the desired education materials, focus groups for both parents and kids are conducted to gain insight into current practices, successes, and barriers in the home. After compilation and analyzation of this data, a team of researchers will complete literature reviews to find expert perspectives and look at previous study results in the main areas of interest. Twelve guides focusing on family meals, healthy nutrition habits, physical activity, and sleep will be designed and disseminated to parents of 6-11 year olds in New Jersey, Florida, and West Virginia.

Outcomes, Impact, & Future Work

In the original HomeStyles study focusing on preschool children and their parents, 12 guides were created in both English and Spanish. These guides consisted of a magazine style cover, expert findings, outcome expectations, emphasis on the concept of role modeling, reflections, and feedback from other parents, and more. Parents received goal trackers and enhancement materials to help implement change. These guides and supplementary materials promoted improvements in both predictors of behaviors and the behaviors themselves. Positive participant feedback showed high satisfaction throughout the HomeStyles process.

In addition to HomeStyles 2, WVU is currently developing a course for graduate students across all participating universities. This class will give students conceptual and practical tools used in designing, planning, implementing, and evaluating obesity prevention techniques based on sound research methods.


As previously mentioned, HomeStyles is a collaborative effort between West Virginia University, Rutgers University, and University of Florida. The principle investigators from each school are listed below.

Carol Byrd-Bredbenner, PhD, RDN - Rutgers University

Karla Shelnutt - University of Florida

Posters & Publications

Clark RL, Hagedorn RL, Byrd-Bredbenner C, Shelnutt K, Olfert MD. HomeStyles: An Obesity Prevention Program for Parents of 6-11-year old Children. Annual Adolescent and Young Adult Research Symposium. Pittsburgh, PA. May 2017

Quick, V.; Martin-Biggers, J.; Povis, G.A.; Hongu, N.; Worobey, J.; Byrd-Bredbenner, C. A Socio-Ecological Examination of Weight-Related Characteristics of the Home Environment and Lifestyles of Households with Young Children. Nutrients 2017, 9, 604.

Byrd-Bredbenner C, Martin-Biggers J, Koenings M, Quick V, Hongu N, Worobey J. HomeStyles, A Web-Based Childhood Obesity Prevention Program for Families With Preschool Children: Protocol for a Randomized Controlled Trial. JMIR Res Protoc 2017;6(4):e73.

Martin-Biggers, J.; Spaccarotella, K.; Delaney, C.; Koenings, M.; Alleman, G.; Hongu, N.; Worobey, J.; Byrd-Bredbenner, C. Development of the Intervention Materials for the HomeStyles Obesity Prevention Program for Parents of Preschoolers. Nutrients 2015, 7, 6628-6669.