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J Nutr Elder. 2008;27(1-2):155-78. doi: 10.1080/01639360802060249.

Fruit and vegetable intake and knowledge increased following a community-based intervention in older adults in Georgia senior centers.

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  • 1Department of Foods and Nutrition, The University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA.


Our purpose was to evaluate a community-based fruit and vegetable intervention conducted in rural and urban areas of Georgia. Participants were a convenience sample from Georgia senior centers that completed a pre-test, the intervention, and a post-test (N = 558, mean age = 75, 83% female, 47% white, 53% black). The 4-month intervention had eight sessions focused on practical ways to increase intake of fruits and vegetables at meals and snacks and included physical activity. Pre- and post-tests examined self-reported intakes of fruits and vegetables at breakfast, lunch, the evening meal, and snacks, knowledge of recommended intakes, and barriers to intake. Following the intervention, the number of participants reporting consumption of at least 7 servings of fruits and vegetables daily increased by 21-percentage points (P < or = 0.001), knowledge that 7 to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables are recommended daily (for 1,600 to 2,200 calories) increased from 7% to 57% (P < or = 0.001), and three barriers to fruit and vegetable intake decreased (P < or = 0.05): "difficulties with digestion," "too many are recommended," and "too much trouble." Regression analyses indicated that increased intake following the intervention was independently associated with living in more urban rather than rural areas, improved knowledge of intake recommendations, decrease in perception of cost as a barrier, and increase in digestive problems as a barrier (P < or = 0.05). These results provide an evidence base for the effectiveness of this community intervention for improving knowledge and intake and decreasing barriers to fruit and vegetable intake in older adults.

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