For others, providing recipes that make fruits and vegetables seem more attractive and stressing the weight control benefits might help increase consumption.
Lead author Mary Ann S. Van Duyn, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D., and her colleagues report in the November issue of the American Journal of Health Promotion on why some people eat fruits and vegetables more often than others do.
For one thing, those who most frequently eat fruits and vegetables are aware of, and believe in, the health benefits of these foods. They also know that at least five servings a day are required to reap maximum benefit a message conveyed by the National Cancer Institutes 5 A Day for Better Health campaign.
High consumers, the investigators found, are also less likely to perceive barriers to meeting the 5 A Day goal. They are more likely to see themselves as capable of increasing fruit and vegetable intake both at and away from home and less likely to be put off by the cost, availability and preparation time.
Other hallmarks of those who eat more fruits and vegetables are the simple enjoyment of the taste of fruits and vegetables and a conscious effort to increase eating healthful foods.
These and other findings emerged from a nationwide telephone survey of 2,605 adults analyzed by Van Duyn and her colleagues. Drawing upon current models of health behavior, the investigators examined background information such as age and gender, probed psychosocial factors such as awareness of the health benefits of fruits and vegetables and perceived barriers to consuming them, and then roughly estimated daily consumption of fruits and vegetables.
At the same time, the investigators classified how far each person had
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