Objective: To examine associations between shopping, food preparation, meal and eating behaviours and fruit and vegetable intake among women.
Design: Cross-sectional survey.
Setting: Community-based sample from metropolitan Melbourne, Australia.
Subjects: A sample of 1136 women aged 18-65 years, randomly selected from the electoral roll.
Results: Food-related behaviours reflecting organisation and forward-planning, as well as enjoyment of and high perceived value of meal shopping, preparation and consumption were associated with healthier intakes of fruits and vegetables. For example, women who more frequently planned meals before they went shopping, wrote a shopping list, enjoyed food shopping, planned in the morning what they will eat for dinner that night, planned what they will eat for lunch, reported they enjoy cooking, liked trying new recipes and who reported they sometimes prepare dishes ahead of time were more likely to consume two or more servings of vegetables daily. Conversely, women who frequently found cooking a chore, spent less than 15 minutes preparing dinner, decided on the night what they will eat for dinner, ate in a fast-food restaurant, ate takeaway meals from a fast-food restaurant, ate dinner and snacks while watching television and who frequently ate on the run were less likely to eat two or more servings of vegetables daily.
Conclusions: Practical strategies based on these behavioural characteristics could be trialled in interventions aimed at promoting fruit and vegetable consumption among women.