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Brief fruit and vegetable messages integrated within a community physical activity program successfully change behaviour
- Doerksen, Shawna E, Estabrooks, Paul A
- The international journal of behavioral nutrition and physical activity 2007 v.4 no.1 pp. 12
- adults, behavior change, cognition, fruits, health behavior, health promotion, physical activity, self-efficacy, social support, vegetable consumption, vegetables
- BACKGROUND: Consumption of the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables is associated with several health benefits. Currently less than 25% of the American population meets the minimum recommendation of five servings a day. In order to change this health behaviour, interventions should be based on theory and include community-wide social support. METHODS: A low intensity intervention was developed in which participants (n = 86) were randomly assigned to either the fruit and vegetable intervention (FVI) or standard control condition. The intervention was integrated into an ongoing community physical activity program and study participants were drawn from the sample of community members enrolled in the program. The FVI consisted of brief social cognitive theory-based messages delivered in nine weekly newsletters designed to improve participant outcome and self-efficacy expectations related to fruit and vegetable consumption. RESULTS: Participants in the FVI condition increased in their fruit and vegetable consumption by approximately one to one and one-third servings per day. The control condition showed no change in consumption. The effect of the intervention was enhanced when examined by the extent to which it was adopted by participants (i.e., the number of newsletters read). Those participants who read seven or more newsletters showed an increase of two servings per day. CONCLUSION: This intervention was effective at improving fruit and vegetable consumption among adults. Minimal interventions, such as newsletters, have the ability to reach large audiences and can be integrated into ongoing health promotion programs. As such, they have potential for a strong public health impact.