A stage-tailored multi-modal intervention increases fruit and vegetable intakes of low-income young adults

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Purpose. Assess effectiveness of an intervention to improve fruit and vegetable consumption in economically disadvantaged young adults. Design. Randomized treatment-control, pre-post design. Setting. Ten states. Subjects. Young adults (n = 2024, ages 18-24) were recruited from noncollege venues; 1255 (62%) completed assessment interviews at baseline and at 4 and 12 months. Intervention. Treatment participants received a series of mailed materials and two educational calls in 6 months. Controls received a mailed pamphlet. Measures. Assessment calls determined two measures of fruit and vegetable intakes, demographics and stage of change at baseline, 4 and 12 months, plus treatment participants' decisional balance, processes, and self-efficacy. Analysis. Repeated measure analysis of variance, intent-to-treat, χ2, and logistic regression. Results. At follow-up, participants in the experimental group had higher intakes of fruit and vegetables than controls (perceived daily intakes of 4.90 vs. 4.60 servings per day, F = 3.49, p < .05 and 431 vs. 3.92 servings/day via 5-A-Day Screener, F = 4.78, p < .01) and greater progression to action or maintenance stages (66% progress in fruit for intervention vs. 55% progress in fruit for controls; 47% vs. 32% progress for vegetables, p = .0080 and .0001, respectively). Lower education, non-White ethnicity, male gender, living with children, and experimental group assignment predicted attrition (X26df = 288, p < .001, Cox R2 = .132). Conclusions. Tailored educational messages and research-extension partnerships are advantageous for improving fruit and vegetable intakes of young adults. Copyright © 2007 by American Journal of Health Promotion, Inc.

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American Journal of Health Promotion