Date of Award

12-2007

Level of Access

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Food Science and Human Nutrition

Advisor

Adrienne A White

Second Committee Member

Richard A Cook

Third Committee Member

Susan Sullivan

Abstract

Only 23% of Americans eat the recommended 5 or more servings per day of fruits and vegetables. The objective of this research was to assess anthropometrics, fruit and vegetable intake, and stage of change for readiness to increase fruit and vegetable intake in overweight adults (n=37; mean age=43±9) at baseline, 3 months and 6 months. The ultimate goal for this primarily female sample (92%) was to promote weight management through increasing fruit and vegetable intake. The intervention was an interactive, multimedia educational website designed to be viewed for 10 minutes twice a month for 6 months and included game-based features such as identifying serving sizes, overcoming barriers to making nutritious food choices, and label reading. Mean calories ip=0.04), fat intake (p=0.024), and body mass index (p=0.048) decreased over time. Reported fruit and vegetable intake (determined by the staging algorithm), but not calculated fruit and vegetable intake (determined by 3-day foods records), increased (p—0.001). Percent of subjects in pre-action stages of change decreased and percent in post-action stages increased. There was no significant relationship between stage of change and amount of fruits and vegetables consumed. However, subjects in post-action reported and consumed significantly more fruits and vegetables than those in pre-action stages, and subjects in forward movement reported significantly more than those in zero or backward movement (p=0.000). Since fruit and vegetable intake did not increase, the changes noted may have been the result of the assessments themselves. Being weighed and keeping food records can serve as powerful motivators. Due to the length of this study, it could not be determined whether the changes were sustained. To increase the impact of the intervention, it is recommended that auxiliary materials be developed to facilitate application of the website content. Results of this study support previous findings that increasing fruit and vegetable intake is a difficult task.

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