British Journal of Nutrition

Research Article

Take Five, a nutrition education intervention to increase fruit and vegetable intakes: impact on attitudes towards dietary change

Annie S. Andersona1 c1, David N. Coxa2, Susan McKellara1, Joanna Reynoldsa2, M. E. J. Leana1 and David J. Melaa2

a1 Department of Human Nutrition, University of Glasgow, Glasgow Royal Infirmary, Alexandra Parade, Glasgow G31 2ER, UK

a2 Institute of Food Research, Earley Gate, Whiteknights Road, Reading RG6 6BZ, UK


To assess the response of low consumers of fruit and vegetables to a nutrition education intervention programme, data were collected from 104 adults on attitudinal variables related to ‘eating more fruit, vegetables and vegetable dishes’. Questionnaires (based on the theory of planned behaviour) assessing perceived barriers to increasing fruit and vegetable consumption were administered before an action-orientated intervention programme and at the end of the intervention period (8 weeks). Questionnaire scores for belief-evaluations in the intervention groups pre- and post-study indicated that support of family and friends, food costs, time constraints and shopping practicalities (in order to increase intake of fruit, vegetable and vegetable dishes) were barriers to greater consumption of these foodstuffs. Perceived situational barriers to increasing intakes of fruits and vegetables were: limited availability of vegetables, salads and fruit at work canteens, take-aways, friends' houses and at work generally. Following the intervention the number of visits to the shops was perceived as a greater barrier for increasing intakes of fruit and vegetables. Perceived practical opportunities for increasing intakes highlighted drinking fruit juice, taking fruit as a dessert, having fruit as a between-meal snack and eating two portions of vegetables with a meal. About two-thirds of intervention subjects achieved the recommended fruit and vegetable target, but it is concluded that practical issues and situational barriers need to be addressed for the success of future public health campaigns.

(Received September 25 1997)

(Revised February 02 1998)

(Accepted March 05 1998)


c1 *Corresponding author: Professor A. S. Anderson, present address: Centre for Applied Nutrition Research, Matthew Building, University of Dundee, 13 Perth Road, Dundee DD1 4HT, UK, fax +44 (0) 1382 200047, email