Happy Family Kitchen Movement: A Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial of a Community-Based Family Holistic Health Intervention in Hong Kong

  • Henry C. Y. Ho
  • Moses Wai-keung Mui
  • Alice Wan
  • Carol Wing-see Yew
  • Tai Hing LamEmail author
Research Paper


Families are often faced with long working hours and stressful urban lifestyles which adversely affect family well-being. The Happy Family Kitchen Movement project, which emphasized the interaction and integration of physical health and psychosocial health, was conducted to promote well-being and health in Hong Kong families. Social workers and teachers from 54 social service units and schools in collaboration with the research team designed and implemented a brief community-based family “holistic health” intervention for 1983 individuals from 1467 families. In a 3-arm cluster randomized controlled trial, participants were allocated into positive physical activity (PPA), positive healthy diet (PHD), or control group. The positive psychology framework, which encompassed joy, gratitude, and savoring, was used to help families build positive attitudes with stronger motivation to engage in health promotion behaviors. Data were collected at pre-intervention, immediately post-intervention, and at 1-month and 3-month follow-up. Results showed that compared to the control, PPA was effective in improving subjective happiness at immediately post-intervention and PHD was effective in promoting family harmony at 1-month and subjective happiness at 3-month, with small effect size. Both PPA and PHD showed some evidence of effectiveness on mental quality of life at 3-month. Participants’ evaluation of the program provided evidence for the perceived usefulness of PPA and PHD. Qualitative data provided additional support for program effectiveness with in-depth insights into the participants’ experiences. These two innovative brief interventions could be a viable, attractive and low cost approach for promoting family “holistic health” in community settings.


Randomized controlled trial Community-based intervention Positive psychology Physical activity Healthy diet Family well-being 



We thank our community collaborators and research participants for their coordination, implementation, and participation in the community programs. We are also grateful to our research team (Dr. Agnes Lai, Ms. Grace Lau, Ms. Maggie Chan, Ms. Sally Leung, Ms. Michelle Suen, Mr. Isaac Yau, Ms. Jillian Zhou, and Ms. Yi Zhou) for their important contributions. This study was a part of the project entitled ‘FAMILY: A Jockey Club Initiative for a Harmonious Society’, which was funded by The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust. The funder had no role in study design, data collection, data analysis and interpretation, preparation of the manuscript, or decision to publish.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychology and Centre for Psychosocial HealthThe Education University of Hong KongTing KokHong Kong
  2. 2.School of Public Health, The University of Hong KongPok Fu LamHong Kong
  3. 3.Service DevelopmentThe Hong Kong Council of Social ServiceWan ChaiHong Kong
  4. 4.United Centre of Emotional Health and Positive LivingUnited Christian Nethersole Community Health ServiceHang HauHong Kong

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