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Open Access Highly Accessed Review

Psychosocial determinants of fruit and vegetable intake in adult population: a systematic review

Laurence Guillaumie12*, Gaston Godin13 and Lydi-Anne Vézina-Im1

Author Affiliations

1 Research Group on Behaviour and Health, Laval University, Quebec City, Canada

2 Laboratoire de psychologie EA 3188, Université de Franche-Comté, France

3 Canada Research Chair on Behaviour and Health, Laval University, Quebec City, Canada

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International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 2010, 7:12  doi:10.1186/1479-5868-7-12

Published: 2 February 2010

Abstract

Background

Accumulating evidence suggests that fruit and vegetable intake (FVI) plays a protective role against major diseases. Despite this protective role and the obesity pandemic context, populations in Western countries usually eat far less than five servings of fruits and vegetables per day. In order to increase the efficiency of interventions, they should be tailored to the most important determinants or mediators of FVI. The objective was to systematically review social cognitive theory-based studies of FVI and to identify its main psychosocial determinants.

Methods

Published papers were systematically sought using Current Contents (2007-2009) and Medline, Embase, PsycINFO, Proquest and Thesis, as well as Cinhal (1980-2009). Additional studies were identified by a manual search in the bibliographies. Search terms included fruit, vegetable, behaviour, intention, as well as names of specific theories. Only studies predicting FVI or intention to eat fruits and vegetables in the general population and using a social cognitive theory were included. Independent extraction of information was carried out by two persons using predefined data fields, including study quality criteria.

Results

A total of 23 studies were identified and included, 15 studying only the determinants of FVI, seven studying the determinants of FVI and intention and one studying only the determinants of intention. All pooled analyses were based on random-effects models. The random-effect R2 observed for the prediction of FVI was 0.23 and it was 0.34 for the prediction of intention. Multicomponent theoretical frameworks and the theory of planned behaviour (TPB) were most often used. A number of methodological moderators influenced the efficacy of prediction of FVI. The most consistent variables predicting behaviour were habit, motivation and goals, beliefs about capabilities, knowledge and taste; those explaining intention were beliefs about capabilities, beliefs about consequences and perceived social influences.

Conclusions

Our results suggest that the TPB and social cognitive theory (SCT) are the preferable social cognitive theories to predict behaviour and TPB to explain intention. Efficacy of prediction was nonetheless negatively affected by methodological factors such as the study design and the quality of psychosocial and behavioural measures.