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Fruit and vegetable beliefs and behaviors of young adults

Agricultural Communications Documentation Center (ACDC)
Keim, Kathy (main author), Stewart, Beth (author), Tinsley, Ann (author), Voichick, Jane (author), University of Idaho, Boise; University of Wisconsin, Madison
Conference paper
Publication Date:
Agricultural Communications Documentation Center, Funk Library, University of Illinois Box: 97
Subject Term:
behavior, consumers, farm products, food, social factors, women
James F. Evans Collection, Ham, Mimeographed, 1994. 1 p. Presented at the Society for Nutrition Education, Portland, OR, July 16-20, 1994., Eating more fruits and vegetables, ideally prepared with little added sugar and/or fat, is recommended by the food guide pyramid. This project surveyed young adults, ages 18 to 24, on their beliefs and behaviors regarding fruits and vegetables. Of the 1369 surveys mailed, 594 were returned (43%). The sample was comprised of 44% (n=262) males, 56% (n=328) females and 94% (n=556) caucasian persons. Only 28% (n=157) of the subjects correctly identified the recommended number of servings for vegetables; a higher percentage of females were correct (33% females, 20% males), as were more educated persons (31% of college educated persons, 22% of persons with a high school education or less). Females were significantly (p<0.0002) more likely than males to raw vegetables as a snack, to consider it more important to eat a variety of foods (p<0.0012), the freshest foods (p<0.0023) and the most nutritious foods (p<0.0000). Females also rated their ability to use food labels as significantly more adequate (p<0.0014) than males, as did college educated persons (p<0.0017). College educated subjects were also significantly more likely to believe eating plenty of fruits and vegetables would reduce intestinal problems (p<0.0238) and risk of cancer (<0.0225). Nearly half (43%, n=243) regularly put butter/margarine on vegetables and used sauces or cheese (46% n=261) on vegetables. Vegetables were rarely eaten at lunch by 74% (n=419), 69% (n=391) rarely snacked on vegetables, and 67% (n=383) rarely ate fruits and vegetables in a healthy diet for young adults, particularly males and those who have no college education.