Psychosocial factors associated with fruit and vegetable consumption

Am J Health Promot. 1995 Nov-Dec;10(2):98-104. doi: 10.4278/0890-1171-10.2.98.


Purpose: This study examined the relationship between various psychosocial factors and fruit and vegetable consumption.

Design: The 5 A Day Baseline Survey, conducted in August 1991, just before the initiation of the 5 A Day for Better Health Program, obtained data on adults' intakes of, and their knowledge, perceptions, and attitudes regarding, fruits and vegetables.

Setting: The survey was conducted by telephone.

Subjects: Subjects were 2811 adults (response rate, 43%) aged 18 years and older in the 48 coterminous United States.

Measures: Fruit and vegetable intake was measured as self-reported frequency of use; most of the psychosocial variables were measured using Likert scales.

Results: This study estimates that only 8% of American adults thought that five or more servings of fruits and vegetables were needed for good health. Of the factors studied, the most important in determining someone's fruit and vegetable intake were the number of servings they thought they should have in a day, whether they liked the taste, and whether they had been in the habit of eating many fruits and vegetables since childhood. These few factors accounted for 15% more of the variation in fruit and vegetable consumption than did demographic variables alone (8%).

Conclusions: Nutrition education should stress the need to eat five or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day because few adults are aware of this recommendation and such knowledge is strongly associated with increased intake. Furthermore, efforts to increase the palatability of fruits and vegetables, especially among children, should be promoted.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attitude
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Feeding Behavior / psychology*
  • Female
  • Fruit*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic / methods
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychology, Social
  • Random Allocation
  • Regression Analysis
  • Telephone
  • United States
  • Vegetables*