A stage-tailored multi-modal intervention increases fruit and vegetable intakes of low-income young adults

Am J Health Promot. Sep-Oct 2007;22(1):6-14. doi: 10.4278/0890-1171-22.1.6.


Purpose: Assess effectiveness of an intervention to improve fruit and vegetable consumption in economically disadvantaged young adults.

Design: Randomized treatment-control, pre-post design.

Setting: Ten states.

Subjects: Young adults (n = 2024, ages 18-24) were recruited from noncollege venues; 1255 (62%) completed assessment interviews at baseline and at 4 and 12 months.

Intervention: Treatment participants received a series of mailed materials and two educational calls in 6 months. Controls received a mailed pamphlet.

Measures: Assessment calls determined two measures of fruit and vegetable intakes, demographics and stage of change at baseline, 4 and 12 months, plus treatment participants' decisional balance, processes, and self-efficacy.

Analysis: Repeated measure analysis of variance, intent-to-treat, chi2, and logistic regression.

Results: At follow-up, participants in the experimental group had higher intakes of fruit and vegetables than controls (perceived daily intakes of 4.90 vs. 4.60 servings per day, F = 3.49, p < .05 and 4.31 vs. 3.92 servings/day via 5-A-Day Screener, F= 4.78, p < .01) and greater progression to action or maintenance stages (66% progress in fruitfor intervention vs. 55% progress in fruit for controls; 47% vs. 32% progress for vegetables, p = .0080 and .0001, respectively). Lower education, non-White ethnicity, male gender, living with children, and experimental group assignment predicted attrition (chi2(6df) = 288, p < .001, Cox R2 = .132).

Conclusions: Tailored educational messages and research-extension partnerships are advantageous for improving fruit and vegetable intakes of young adults.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Community-Institutional Relations
  • Diet / economics*
  • Diet / psychology
  • Diet / statistics & numerical data
  • Feeding Behavior / psychology*
  • Female
  • Fruit*
  • Health Education / methods*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Nutrition Assessment
  • Nutritional Sciences / education
  • Postal Service
  • Poverty Areas
  • Program Evaluation
  • Self Efficacy*
  • Telephone
  • United States
  • Vegetables*