Change in fruit and vegetable intake over 24 months in older adults: Results of the SENIOR project intervention

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Purpose: We test the efficacy of an intervention based on the transtheoretical model to increase the intake of fruits and vegetables and to describe differences in psychosocial variables based on the achievement of the 5 A Day Program target. Design and Methods: This study is a randomized controlled trial comparing a 12-month fruit and vegetable intervention to a control condition with a 12-month follow-up. Participants included 1,277 community-residing persons who were 60 years of age or older; 834 provided dietary data at all three time points and are included in our outcome analyses. Results: The intervention group increased intake by 0.5 to 1.0 serving more than the control group over 24 months as measured by the NCI Fruit and Vegetable Screener and the 5 A Day Program screener. The majority of the participants (58%) perceived that they maintained 5 or more servings per day for 24 months. These maintainers had a higher intake at each time point for all dietary measures and differed from those who failed to progress (11%) for most transtheoretical model variables. Implications: The intervention was effective in increasing the intake of fruits and vegetables in older adults. Those who maintained their level of perceived intake as 5 or more servings per day consumed 2-4 servings per day more than those who failed to progress. Copyright 2008 by The Gerontological Society of America.

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