Factors associated with fruit and vegetable consumption among women participating in WIC

Stephen Havas*, Katherine Treiman, Patricia Langenberg, Michael Ballesteros, Jean Anliker, Dorothy Damron, Robert Feldman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Scopus citations


Objective The purpose of this analysis was to assess to what extent sociodemographic and psychosocial characteristics predict consumption of fruits and vegetables in women served by the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). Design Baseline survey data were analyzed for women enrolled in the Maryland WIC 5 A Day Promotion Program, a study sponsored by the National Cancer Institute. Sociodemographic variables included age, race, education, marital status, working status, pregnancy status, and smoking status. Psychosocial variables included self- efficacy, knowledge, attitudes, social support, and perceived barriers to consuming 5 or more servings daily of fruits and vegetables. Subjects/setting Analyses are based on 3,122 women enrolled at 15 WIC sites in Baltimore and 6 counties in Maryland. Statistical analyses performed Because psychosocial characteristics were measured on different scales and varied in dispersion, we standardized scores for these variables. Multiple regression analyses were then performed to assess contributions of the sociodemographic variables and the standardized psychosocial variable scores to the variance in consumption of fruits and vegetables. Results Sociodemographic variables were not powerful predictors of fruit and vegetable consumption. In contrast, an increase of 1 standard deviation in self-efficacy resulted in a mean increase of 0.76 servings, and an increase of 1 standard deviation in perceived barriers resulted in a decrease of 0.50 servings. About 21% of the variance in consumption was explained by all of the variables examined. Applications Dietitians and intervention programs should focus on increasing clients' self-efficacy, positive attitudes, and knowledge relating to fruits and vegetables while trying to reduce perceived barriers to consumption of fruits and vegetables.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1141-1148
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Dietetic Association
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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