Fruit and vegetable consumption



Title Fruit and vegetable consumption : benefits and barriers
Author(s) Debbie L. MacLellan, Katherine T. Gottschall-Pass, Roberta Larsen
Date 2004
Volume 65
Issue 3
Start page 101
End page 105
Abstract Lack of knowledge was also a barrier. Some lacked food and food preparation knowledge; others lacked nutrition knowledge. Several participants noted that they didn't know what to do with the new fruits and vegetables available at the grocery store. One said, "The thing is you go to [... the store] and you see rows of this fruit and you don't know what they are. If you bought them, what would you do with them?" Another stated, "A lot of different vegetables I'd like to try, but you get it home and you're like, now what do you do with this?" When commenting on how many servings should be eaten daily, most participants either did not know or gave vague responses, such as "Well... I think three of the veggies. I think three; I'm not sure-three-cup servings of veggies if they are cooked... Three fruit" or "I have no idea if I'm getting enough" or " One a week?" Both sociopsychological and socioenvironmental factors were identified as barriers to adequate consumption. For some women, having children in the home made eating enough vegetables and fruit more difficult. One woman said, "I find that if I buy a lot of the different fruits, the kids don't eat them." Another cited "kids' tendencies... to reach for something sweet and sugar... " A third commented, "I... can only get my children to eat one of each thing. They don't seem to want to try anything new." For others, the presence of a "significant other" in the home resulted in decreased intake. One said, "My husband won't eat any vegetables," while another said, "I can be influenced by my boyfriend who lives with me, and he tends to eat far worse than I do.... I do corn, always corn, because that's all [the boyfriend] will eat." Early childhood experiences were also identified as a barrier. Many participants reported limited exposure to a variety of vegetables and fruit while growing up, and negative memories of "cooked, mushy vegetables." One participant said that "we just always cooked our vegetables... You know, you cook your potatoes and your vegetables to mush." Another said, "We never had fruit around a whole lot." Another barrier was lack of availability, which was sometimes due to cost and season. Said one participant, "Cost is probably one of the biggest influencing factors... If it's on sale I'll buy it, and if it is not I generally won't." Another mentioned that "fruit, especially fruit, it's very, very expensive." Participants were reluctant to spend their money on vegetables and fruit that might be wasted: "I have a certain amount of money I spend on groceries and I'm not going to buy something that I don't know what to do with and waste it." Price was not a big concern if produce quality was good. "Price doesn't stop me from buying what I want. Freshness, how the produce looks is important," said one woman. Another believed that "...if fruit is displayed nicely, you are going to pick it up." Participants also commented on the lack of availability of vegetables and fruits on restaurant menus. "When you like fast food, it's hard to get [vegetables and fruit]," stated one, while another believed that "...restaurants are horrible! There are no options for healthier food choices."
PubMed ID 15363114

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