Stages of change in adopting healthy diets: fat, fiber, and correlates of nutrient intake

Health Educ Q. Winter 1994;21(4):499-519. doi: 10.1177/109019819402100412.


The stages of change construct, which addresses the readiness to change, has only recently been applied to dietary behavior, such as fat consumption. This article describes the application of the stages of change construct to dietary fat and fiber consumption and examines the association of dietary stages to eating practices and related demographic and psychosocial factors in a large, geographically diverse population of workers. We present results from the baseline survey of 17,121 employees in the Working Well Trial. We assessed stage from an algorithm based on seven items and measured dietary intake with an 88-item food frequency questionnaire. Findings indicated that a greater proportion of the population has actively tried to reduce fat intake than to consume more fiber. Stage of change was associated with fat, fiber, and fruit and vegetable intake in a stepwise manner, as predicted. In multivariate analyses that controlled for demographic characteristics, stage of change predicted between 8 and 13% of the variance in dietary intake, and more than demographic variables. These findings have implications for the design of nutrition interventions and for the evaluation of intermediate outcomes.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Demography
  • Diet*
  • Dietary Fats
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Energy Intake
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Nutritive Value
  • Prospective Studies
  • Weight Loss


  • Dietary Fats
  • Dietary Fiber