Psychosocial factors influencing low fruit and vegetable consumption

J Behav Med. 1994 Aug;17(4):361-74. doi: 10.1007/BF01858008.


A major national health campaign has recently been initiated to promote consumption of 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day. This paper investigates psychosocial factors related to fruit and vegetable consumption to understand better who might be receptive and who might resist the national 5-A-Day campaign. We studied 405 adult respondents to a random-digit dial telephone survey. Applying the Transtheoretical Model, respondents were classified by stage of readiness to adopt the practice of eating 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day. Logistic regression models were developed for persons consuming 2 or fewer servings daily and for persons in the Precontemplation stage. Education was directly related to fruit and vegetable intake and indirectly related to being in the Precontemplation stage. Males were twice as likely as females to be in the Precontemplation stage and eat fewer than 2 servings a day. Of special interest, respondents with children at home were at greater risk of eating 2 or fewer servings a day than those without children at home (OR = 1.63; 95% CI, 1.06-2.52). These results imply that stage of readiness to change should be considered as well as other factors in planning interventions for increasing fruit and vegetable consumption.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Diet / psychology*
  • Dietetics / standards
  • Educational Status
  • Family Characteristics
  • Female
  • Fruit*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Psychological
  • Odds Ratio
  • Sex Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Vegetables*