Behavioural and cognitive processes adults use to change their fruit and vegetable consumption

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Abstract

Aim:

Although the Transtheoretical Model's processes of change have been investigated for improving fruit and vegetable intake in adults, no studies have been conducted in Australia. To help understand what might enable Australian adults to change, we assessed the relationship between stages and processes of change.

Methods:

A convenience sample of university students and employees (n = 105; female = 77) aged 18–60 years participated in this cross-sectional study. Validated questionnaires that measure stages and processes of change for fruit and vegetable consumption were completed. The process of change questionnaire used 40 items, with responses on a 5-point Likert scale ranging from ‘never’ to ‘repeatedly’.

Results:

Ninety-eight per cent of the sample was in the precontemplation, preparation or maintenance stage. Most differences in process use occurred between precontemplation and the combined contemplation/preparation stages. This latter displayed higher cognitive (P = 0.001) and behavioural process use (P = 0.01). Individual processes predominantly responsible for these differences were consciousness raising, dramatic relief, self re-evaluation and self liberation.

Conclusions:

While there are limitations regarding study design and population, the results suggest that when designing a program to increase fruit and vegetable intake, targeting these processes may assist participants' progression from precontemplation to preparation. Additional research is necessary to critically examine process use between preparation and maintenance stages.

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