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The Challenge of Increasing Fruit and Vegetable Consumption Among Jamaican Adults

      Objective

      Compare the Transtheoretical Model (TTM) stages of change (SOC) for fruit and vegetable consumption among Jamaican adults and evaluate the dominant factors influencing each SOC.

      Study Design, Setting, Participants

      A household based cross-sectional survey among 1,057 adults 18 - 69 years selected from five parishes in Jamaica, was conducted using an interviewer administered questionnaire over a five month period.

      Outcome Measures and Analysis

      Socio-demographic, height, weight, fruit and vegetable consumption SOC, self-efficacy, positive perceptions, barriers and social support data; were collected. Overweight and obesity were defined based on BMI while fruit and vegetable consumption SOC were scored then analysed using Chi-square, analysis of variance and regression.

      Results

      Fruit and vegetable consumption of few respondents (20.5%) were in the action/maintenance SOC and significantly more females were in contemplation/preparation (χ = 12.98; p = 0.01). No significant differences were observed in SOC for fruit and vegetable consumption by BMI status. A significant increase in fruit and vegetable consumption self-efficacy scores was detected from pre/contemplation to action/maintenance (F=51.13, p < .001). Significant differences were seen in mean scores for the perceived benefits of fruits and vegetables by SOC (F=23.22, p < .001). Adults in pre-contemplation were more likely to perceive barriers than those in the action/maintenance SOC (F=20.03, p < 0.001); and minimal support from family (mean score 10.59 of 21) and friends (8.57 of 21) was reported.

      Conclusions and Implications

      Females are least likely to start or maintain participation in programmes designed to increase fruit and vegetable consumption. Community based interventions designed to build self-efficacy and involve social support systems may successfully address this.

      Funding

      University of Technology, Jamaica Research Development Fund

      Supplementary data