Fruit and vegetable consumption of rural African Americans: baseline survey results of the Black Churches United for Better Health 5 A Day Project.Nutr Cancer 1998; 30(2):148-57NC
The objective of this study was to determine baseline fruit and vegetable consumption (total and specific) among rural African Americans participating in a 5 A Day intervention study and factors associated with this dietary intake. A telephone survey was administered to 3,737 adult members of 50 black churches from 10 rural counties in North Carolina. The survey measured demographic characteristics, knowledge and beliefs regarding cancer and nutrition, and food-frequency data related specifically to fruit and vegetable consumption. Associations between fruit and vegetable consumption and income, education, age, gender, marital status, the presence of children within the household, and awareness of the 5 A Day program were explored using descriptive and regression analyses. Food-frequency data showed a mean intake of 3.7 +/- 2.4 daily servings of fruits and vegetables within this population of rural African Americans. Twenty-three percent of the participants reported eating five or more daily servings of fruits and vegetables. Significant associations were found between fruit and vegetable intake and both age and gender (p < 0.001), with older females consuming the most and younger males consuming the least fruits and vegetables. Findings from this rural African American population parallel national studies showing that US intake of fruits and vegetables falls short of the 5 A Day guidelines. Female gender and advancing age were positively associated with fruit and vegetable intake. Study results reinforce the need to promote the 5 A Day message. Such messages may prove most beneficial if targeted toward younger adult males, whose fruit and vegetable intakes are especially low.