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Online programs improve fruit and vegetable consumption
Date:2/4/2010

DETROIT Online programs that provide information and tips about fruits and vegetables may be the key to getting more Americans to eat healthier, say researchers at Henry Ford Hospital.

Researchers found that when given access to an online program about fruits and vegetables, participants increased their daily fruit and vegetable intake by more than two servings. Many of the participants continued using the program after the study concluded, and even reported their family members became involved in the program.

"People already know the health benefits of fruits and vegetables, but they often don't know how to incorporate them into their diet," says study senior author Christine Cole Johnson, Ph.D., M.P.H., chair of Henry Ford's Department of Biostatistics and Research Epidemiology. "That's why our study worked. Using online programs, we were able to offer study participants practical and easy tips to increase their daily fruit and vegetable intake."

Results are published in this month's issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, fewer than 25 percent of adults in the United States eat five servings of fruit and vegetables per day. Those who eat more fruits and vegetables are likely to have reduced risk of chronic diseases, including stroke and certain cancers.

The 12-month-long Henry Ford study recruited members of Health Alliance Plan and four other HMOs in Seattle, Denver, Minneapolis and Atlanta, ages 21 to 65. Study participants were placed in one of these three groups:

  • A control online program that provided general information for the participants about improving their fruit and vegetable intake.

  • A program that was similar but personalized to the individual's needs

  • A program that incorporated the other two components and was also supplemented with motivational interviewing counseling via e-mail.

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Contact: Liz Trudeau
etrudea1@hfhs.org
313-874-6283
Henry Ford Health System
Source:Eurekalert  

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