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Prev Med. 2005 Jul;41(1):268-75. Epub 2005 Jan 13.

The influence of health behavior clusters on dietary change.

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Division of Cancer Prevention, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD 20892-7344, USA.



The goal of this study was to identify cancer preventive health behavior clusters and to determine if clusters responded differently to a year-long intervention to increase fruit and vegetable consumption.


The North Carolina Strategies for Improving Diet, Exercise, and Screening (NC STRIDES) is a health communications intervention (n = 595) among colorectal cancer survivors and a comparison population. Cluster analysis was used to identify nonoverlapping groups based on fruit and vegetable intake (servings/day), physical activity (minutes/day), multivitamin use (yes/no), and body mass index (kg/m2). Logistic regression was performed to assess positive change in fruit and vegetable servings, using the healthiest cluster as the reference group.


Five clusters were formed; they differed significantly by health behaviors and demographics. Clusters 1 and 2 (those following the "Healthy Choices" and "Eating Well" patterns) were eating more than 5 A Day before the intervention (8.6 and 6.9 servings/day), and did not show any increase. Cluster 3 ("Physically Active") reported an increase of 1.3 servings/day to reach 5.4 servings/day, and Clusters 4 and 5 ("Average Americans" and "Most Challenged") improved one serving/day for final intakes of 5.2 and 5.0 servings/day.


These findings illustrate some differences in magnitude of response to a fruit and vegetable intervention based on health behavior profiles. Creating clusters or other categories from baseline health behaviors may help to further improve targeting and/or tailoring in health promotion interventions.

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