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

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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.


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.


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.


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

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