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Educational Intervention Enhances Consumers' Readiness To Adopt Food Thermometer Use When Cooking Small Cuts of Meat: An Application of the Transtheoretical Model

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An intervention to promote use of food thermometers when cooking small cuts of meat was conducted using the Transtheoretical Model. Objectives were to (i) increase use of food thermometers by home food preparers, (ii) improve consumers' attitudes regarding use of a food thermometer, and (iii) examine relationships between stages of change and decisional balance, self-efficacy, and processes of change. A randomly selected group of residents of Washington and Idaho (n = 2,500) were invited to participate in the research; 295 persons completed all phases of the multistep intervention. Following the intervention program, there was a significant increase in food thermometer use when cooking small cuts of meat (P < 0.01); those persons classified in action and maintenance stages increased from 9 to 34%. Ownership of thermometers also significantly increased (P < 0.05). The three constructs related to the Transtheoretical Model that were used in the study (decisional balance, self-efficacy, and processes of change) were very useful for examining differences among people at different stages of change because the responses for each set of questions differed positively and significantly (P < 0.01) as stages of change classifications advanced from precontemplation (no interest in thermometer use) to action and maintenance (individuals who use food thermometers). Additional educational campaigns designed to increase use of food thermometers are needed. Because most consumers are currently in the precontemplation stage, food thermometer campaigns will be most effective when they are focused on raising awareness of the food safety risks and the benefits of using food thermometers when cooking small cuts of meat.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Washington State University, P.O. Box 646376, Pullman, Washington 99164-6376, USA 2: School of Family and Consumer Sciences, University of Idaho, P.O. Box 443183, Moscow, Idaho 83844, USA

Publication date: September 1, 2005

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