Date of Award


Level of Access Assigned by Author

Open-Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Food Science and Human Nutrition


Adrienne A. White

Second Committee Member

Richard Cook

Third Committee Member

Susan Sullivan


One of the most important ways to decrease risk of chronic disease development is to consume ample portions of h i t and vegetables. However, less than one-third of young adults meet "5-A-Day" servings, and variety is limited. Economically disadvantaged young adults may be especially vulnerable and are a hard to reach audience. Many of the Cooperative Extension programs are designed to reach low-income audiences and assist them in making changes in knowledge, skills, attitudes, and dietary choices for nutritional well-being. The objectives of this study were, in Phase I, to test two food frequency instruments for feasibility of use as a telephone survey for economically disadvantaged young adults; collect h i t and vegetable intake data; and, in Phase 11, to conduct in-depth interviews to elicit feedback about stage-based newsletters as a method of delivering nutrition education intervention to increase fruit and vegetable consumption. The Transtheoretical Model was used to provide a framework for determining readiness to change h i t and vegetable consumption. The key components of the model are the stages of change, identifying when behavior change occurs, and the processes of change, identifying how people make behavior changes. In Phase I thirty (30) subjects were young adults, one male, and the remainder female, between the ages of 18-29 years of age who were, had been, or could qualify as participants in the programs for the economically disadvantaged of Cooperative Extension. Both food frequency instruments were feasible for use by telephone. Mean time for administration of the North Central (NC) 2 19 Food Frequency was about two and one-half minutes longer than the National Cancer Institute (NCI) SCAN (p<.000). Intakes of h i t s and vegetables were higher as reported on NC2 19 Food Frequency compared to the NCI SCAN. The comparison of the mean h i t intake of NC219 Food Frequency and NCI SCAN was 3.2k2.0 and 2.0k1.4 servings, respectively. Similarly, higher total vegetable serving intakes were reported when the NC219 Food Frequency was used (3.4k1.8) versus the NCI SCAN (1.9k1.2). In Phase 11, subjects for the in-depth interview were thirty (30) females, 18-24 years of age, who qualified for programs for the economically disadvantaged. The subjects' responses to the newsletters were characteristic of their stages of change. Subjects in pre-action stages expressed more barriers to consuming h i t s and vegetables, while subjects in action/maintenance expressed benefits. Self-efficacy was most often expressed in subjects in action/maintenance. Nine of the ten processes of change were observed, with the subjects in pre-action using fewer processes than those in action/maintenance. In this study, the collaboration between a Cooperative Extension nutrition aide and a nutrition researcher resulted in meeting research objectives and gathering important data for the development of more effective nutrition education interventions for low-income young adults.