Attitudes and behaviors related to fruits and vegetables among low-income women in the WIC program
This article describes formative research conducted as part of a study aimed at increasing fruit and vegetable consumption among low-income women enrolled in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). Focus group discussions and central location intercept interviews were conducted with WIC participants to answer questions such as (1) What are their food shopping, preparation, and eating habits? (2) What perceptions do they have about fruits and vegetables? (3) What barriers do they face to increased consumption of fruits and vegetables? and (4) What motivations and messages might be effective in promoting increased consumption? Results indicated that these women, while generally responsible for food shopping and preparation, did not cook extensively.They reported many positive perceptions of fruits and vegetables, but also identified barriers to increasing consumption, including lack of availability, time and effort to prepare, and preference for other foods. Several implications for nutrition interventions were suggested. First, a key motivation for these women was being a good role model for their children, suggesting a persuasive appeal to use in interventions. Second, review of the women's current eating behaviors led to an identification of five specific behaviors that had the most potential for increasing overall consumption. Finally, the findings suggested ways in which nutrition interventions could address each of the barriers identified.