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Am J Clin Nutr. 1995 Jun;61(6 Suppl):1397S-1401S.

Dietary behavior change: the challenge of recasting the role of fruit and vegetables in the American diet.

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National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


We present an overview of national trends in fruit and vegetable intake and background information on the development of the 5 a Day for Better Health program; which is a national social marketing program created in 1991 to promote consumption by Americans of five or more servings of fruit and vegetables daily. Using the 5 a Day program as an example, we highlight the importance of moving beyond consumption data when approaching a population with a message about healthy eating. In doing so, we incorporate the assessment of marketing data and employ behavioral change theories that are important in modifying behavior. Finally, drawing from the dietary themes of the Mediterranean diet, we propose a new strategy that builds on the good taste and attractiveness of fruit and vegetables, in combination with a health message as a way for health promotion professionals to enhance the role of fruit and vegetables in American cuisine and to help move Americans toward increased fruit and vegetable consumption.

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