Despite growing evidence of the benefits of adequate intake of fruit and vegetables (F&V) and the recommendation to consume five servings daily, the adoption of these habits is poor among people with severe mental disorder (SMD). The main aim of the present study is to determine changes in the intake of F&V and motivation to do so among people with SMDs after participating in a food education programme. A community-based randomized controlled trial was conducted in Spain, with the intervention group (IG) participating in a food education programme based on the stages of change model to promote consumption of F&V and the control group (CG) receiving three informative sessions on basic healthy eating. The main outcomes were related to the intake of F&V and stages of change. Data collection was performed at baseline, post intervention, and 12-month follow-up. Seventy-four participants enrolled in the study and sixty completed the 12-month follow-up. An increase in motivation towards the intake of F&V was observed in the IG but not in the CG (McNemar's test p = 0.016, p = 0.625). No significant difference was observed for the intake of fruit, vegetables, or F&V. Basing food education strategies on the stages of change model shows positive results, increasing the awareness and disposition of people with SMD towards the intake of F&V. More research is needed to identify the most appropriate eating intervention to increase the intake of F&V.
Keywords: fruit and vegetables consumption; health behaviour; mental disorders; mental health recovery; nutrition education; transtheoretical model.