Motivating 18- to 24-year-olds to Increase Their Fruit and Vegetable Consumption

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OBJECTIVE: This study assessed the effectiveness of a 4-month intervention using stage-based newsletters, computer-based communication, and motivational interviewing to increase fruit and vegetable consumption by college students aged 18 to 24 years.
DESIGN: Participants were stratified by stage of change for fruit and vegetable consumption and randomized to an intervention or control group. Participants completed the staging algorithm for fruit and vegetable intake, which included a one-item food frequency question, a 26-item food frequency questionnaire (FFQ), an 18-item decisional balance questionnaire, and a five-item self-efficacy questionnaire at baseline and completion of study.
SUBJECTS: A convenience sample of 437 college students enrolled in a rural, land grant university was enrolled in the study. Only nondietetics majors between ages 18 to 24 years were included in the study. A total of 314 students finished the study for a completion rate of 72%.
INTERVENTION: After baseline staging and randomization, the intervention group participants received four stage-based newsletters, one motivational interview, and an individually tailored e-mail follow-up over a 4-month period. Control group participants only received assessment at baseline and at completion.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Two fruit and vegetable instruments, a one-item food frequency question, and a 26-item FFQ measured daily consumption of fruits and vegetables at baseline and postintervention.
STATISTICAL ANALYSES PERFORMED: The SAS system for Windows, version 8 (1999, SAS Institute, Inc, Cary, NC), was used for analysis, including the following tests: PROC GLM, PROC FREQ, and PROC NPAR1WAY, Kruskal-Wallis, Fisher, Wilcoxon rank sum, and chi(2).
RESULTS: Fruit and vegetable consumption increased significantly more for the intervention group than the control group. Consumption increased in the intervention group by one serving a day for both instruments compared with 0.4 servings a day in the control group for a one-item instrument and no change in the control group for a 26-item FFQ.
CONCLUSIONS: This intervention is an effective way to increase fruit and vegetable consumption by young adults.

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Journal of the American Dietetic Association





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American Dietetic Association