Adherence to dietary regimens. 1: An overview of research

Behav Med. 1995 Winter;20(4):149-54. doi: 10.1080/08964289.1995.9933731.


In recent government reports, scientists have highlighted the link between diet and health and have concluded that dietary changes could reduce risks for some major chronic illnesses (ie, cancer and cardiovascular disease). As a result, the feasibility of lasting dietary change has become a central concern. Despite mixed findings from dietary adherence studies, there is evidence that meaningful dietary modification and adherence are possible, although not easily accomplished. Psychological, cultural, environmental, and behavioral factors exert an influence on whether individuals try to change their eating habits. Given the complex interaction between these factors, it is not surprising that education alone rarely produces lasting change. To develop comprehensive approaches to dietary management, practitioners must integrate theoretical and empirical information across a number of fields. In addition to focusing on individual behavior change, the authors suggest, those concerned with the nation's health should give serious consideration to the possibility of changes at the policy level.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / psychology
  • Child
  • Diet, Fat-Restricted / psychology*
  • Diet, Reducing / psychology*
  • Feeding Behavior / psychology*
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutritional Requirements
  • Patient Compliance / psychology*