Purpose: This study examined whether eating practices and psychosocial factors differed across stages of change for fruit and vegetables.
Design: Data were collected using a self-administered written survey among a convenience sample of 739 Dutch adults. Response rate was 92%.
Setting: Data were collected as part of the baseline assessment for a nutrition intervention study.
Measures: Fruit and vegetable intake was measured as self-reported consumption with a validated eight-item food frequency questionnaire. Psychosocial variables were measured with six items on bipolar seven-point scales and stage-of-change classifications were based on separate four-item algorithms for fruits and vegetables. Differences in psychosocial factors and consumption were analyzed using one-way analysis of variance with Scheffé's multiple-comparison test.
Results: Significant differences were found between stages of change in dietary intake, attitudes, self-efficacy, and judgment of one's own intake compared to others. Attitudes were most positive in preparation and action and least positive in precontemplation. Intake and self-efficacy were more positive in action/maintenance than in pre-action stages.
Conclusions: The findings suggest that nutrition education aimed at encouraging higher intake of fruits and vegetables might be most effective if it is stage-tailored. Messages to influence attitudes about fruits and vegetables are likely to affect people in precontemplation, and self-efficacy information to increase confidence in overcoming barriers to consumption is likely to be effective with persons in contemplation and preparation stages.