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Unannounced telephone interviews: A useful and positively received tool in the reinforcement of lifestyle intervention

Authors Brekke H, Sunesson, Lenner RA

Published 1 December 2009 Volume 2009:3 Pages 357—362


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Hilde Kristin Brekke, Åsa Sunesson, Ragnhild A Lenner

Department of Clinical Nutrition, Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden

Objectives: Reinforcement is critical in dietary counseling, but is also time demanding. We evaluated the acceptability of frequent telephone interviews, including a 24-hour dietary recall, as a means of reinforcement after lifestyle intervention in healthy subjects at risk of diabetes. The aim of this report is to assess the following questions: Was the chosen frequency and duration of telephone reinforcement appropriate? What were the positive and negative aspects of receiving telephone interviews?

Methods: Seventy-seven nondiabetic relatives of patients with type 2 diabetes were included in a randomized controlled intervention study in which they received dietary education. Unannounced telephone calls were placed to follow adherence and for encouragement and support. After two years of intervention, the perceived appropriateness of the different aspects of receiving telephone interviews were evaluated by postal questionnaire.

Results: Telephone reinforcement was positively received by the participants. Relatively frequent telephone calls, as many as three times per month, were not considered disturbing or time consuming. Participants became aware of their own dietary habits through the interviews, which they appreciated. They found duration of follow-up between one and five years appropriate.

Conclusions: Telephone interviews can be applied in lifestyle intervention programs in healthy at-risk individuals in which time constraints may otherwise prevent active persons from participating.

Keywords: telephone interviews, reinforcement, lifestyle, intervention, acceptability

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