Processes underlying young women's decisions to eat fruits and vegetables

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Abstract

Objective

To relate the use of identified processes that college women use to eat enough fruits and enough vegetables to their stages of readiness to change and their fruit and vegetable (F/V) intakes.

Method

A cross-sectional assessment of college women 18–24 years of age (n = 236) was conducted to assess stage of readiness to eat F/V. Use of seven processes, earlier confirmed in a separate sample of college students the same age (health concerns, self-reevaluation, social liberation, health commitment/action, interpersonal control, external reinforcement and helping relationships) was compared with stage of change for F/V and 3 days of dietary intakes.

Results

In these young college women, use of self-reevaluation, a cognitive process for change, peaked in the preparation stage for both F/V. Use of health commitment/action, a post-action process including counter-conditioning, peaked in those in action/maintenance for F/V. Weight concerns related to the counter-conditioning processes women used to eat more fruit.

Conclusion

Health practitioners should focus on weight management, appearance and health benefits of eating fruits and vegetables for this demographic group.

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