Influences On Fruit and Vegetable Consumption by Low-Income Black American Adolescents

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Nutrition and Food Systems


Objective: The purpose of this study was to identify personal, behavioral, and environmental factors influencing fruit and vegetable consumption among 10- to 13-year-old low-income black American youth in the lower Mississippi Delta region. Social Cognitive Theory, along with other theoretical constructs, guided focus group questions and analysis. Design: A qualitative study using focus group methodology. Setting: Enrichment program of a sports summer camp for low-income youth. Participants: Forty-two adolescents (21 female, 21 male) participated in 6 focus groups. Main Outcome Measures: Personal, behavioral, and environmental influences on fruit and vegetable consumption. Analysis: Content analysis methods were used by 3 independent reviewers to identify themes within the focus group transcripts. Themes were summarized and then categorized into the 3 domains of Social Cognitive Theory. Results: The major themes were taste, availability, extended family influence, visual proof of the benefits of fruit and vegetable consumption, and the need for gender-specific behavioral skills. Conclusions and Implications: This formative research will aid in the development of a culturally relevant nutrition intervention for low-income black American adolescents in the lower Mississippi Delta region. The results indicate that this group is more likely to respond to interventions that use role models who can provide proof that fruit and vegetable consumption is related to improved health.

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Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior





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