The aim was to evaluate a behaviourally-oriented dietary counselling programme designed to increase fruit and vegetable intake in an ethnically mixed low income population. The study has been carried out by a multi-disciplinary group involving psychology, cardiovascular epidemiology and primary care research. A randomised parallel group controlled trial has been conducted in a primary care setting, comparing behavioural counselling with intensive advice in ~270 low income adults recruited from a single general practice in Battersea, South London.
The behavioural counselling is based on a dietary fat reduction programme successfully utilised in a recent trial, replacing the negative message of reducing fat with positive encouragement to increase fruit and vegetables. The counselling was presented within a 'stage of change' framework. The counselling was administered over two 15-min individual sessions supported by written material.
Outcomes included measures of diet (food frequency questionnaire) and bio-makers of fruit and vegetable intake (urinary potassium excretion and plasma levels of vitamin C, vitamin E and beta-carotene). They were assessed at baseline, eight weeks (short-term outcome) and 12 months (long-term outcome).
The study will determine the feasibility of increasing fruit and vegetable consumption through brief targeted dietary counselling designed for administration within primary care.
- A Steptoe (UCL)
- F P Cappuccio (WMS)
- S Hilton (SGUL)
- L Porras (UCL)
- E Rink (SGUL)
- C McKey (SGUL)
Department of Health /Medical Research Council