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A18. Fruit and vegetable consumption of women in low‐income groups: barriers and incentives for increasing intake

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Abstract:

Background The Scottish diet is renowned for being one of the unhealthiest in the Western World ( WHO, 1990). Fruit and vegetable consumption in Scotland fails to meet the World Health Organizations current recommendations ( Roos et al., 1997 ). Fruit and vegetable consumption is strongly affected by socio‐economic status and income ( Marshall et al., 1995 ).

Aims This study had three aims: to identify how much fruit and vegetables mothers on low income consume, to assess mothers knowledge and attitude to fruit and vegetable consumption and to identify how mothers would feel if the Department of Health and Social Security Milk Token Scheme was extended.

Methods A random sample of 43 mothers was obtained from Castlemilk and Gorbals areas of Glasgow. The sample was recruited for interview from parent and toddlers groups and from a new parents open day. All of the women in this study received state benefits.

Results In this study 95% (n = 41) understood the importance of eating fruit and vegetables daily, yet only 39% (n = 17) ate fruit every day. 95% of the participants felt it was important to eat fruit and vegetables during pregnancy, yet only 19% (n = 8) increased their intake. These results show that whilst subjects understood the importance of eating fruit and vegetables they did not put this knowledge into practice. In the age group 16–20 years none of the subjects ate fruit or vegetable daily. 71% (n = 17) of the subjects commented that the cost of fruit and vegetables affected their decision to purchase them. Practical strategies need to be implemented to encourage a change in attitude towards fruit and vegetables consumption.

All participants were receptive to extending Department of Health and Social Security Milk Token Scheme to include other foods such as fruit and vegetables, meat, eggs, cheese and cereals. 59% (n = 35) of sample believed that extending the milk token scheme would make their diet healthier whist the remaining 41% (n = 17) felt it would save them money.

Conclusions Further research should be carried out into nutrition intervention programmes. The Women Infants and Children (WIC) programme in the United States could be a starting point for further research.

Document Type: Abstract

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-277x.2000.00001-19.x

Affiliations: Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow

Publication date: October 1, 2000

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