Predicting adolescents' intake of fruits and vegetables

Leslie A. Lytle, Sherri Varnell, David M. Murray, Mary Story, Cheryl Perry, Amanda S. Birnbaum, Martha Y. Kubik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

107 Scopus citations


Objective: To explore potential predictors of adolescents' fruit and vegetable intake by expanding on current theory and drawing from other adolescent research. Design: This research reports on baseline and interim data from a school-based intervention study. Data were collected through surveys administered to students at the beginning and end of their 7th grade year. Setting: The students attended 16 public schools in Minnesota. Participants: Data were collected on 3878 students; approximately half were female and 67% were white. All students in the 7th grade cohort were invited to participate in the surveys and over 94% completed both surveys. Variables Measured: Our dependent variable, fruit and vegetable intake, was assessed by a validated fruit and vegetable food frequency scale. Predictive factors assessed included parenting style, spirituality/religiosity, depressive symptoms, and other commonly assessed predictors. Analysis: Generalized linear mixed model regression. Omnibus test of association using P < .05 is reported. Results: Subjective norms, barriers, knowledge, usual food choice, parenting style, spirituality/religiosity, and depressive symptoms were statistically significant predictors of intake. The model explained about 31% of the variance in fruit and vegetable consumption. Conclusions and Implications: To better understand adolescents' fruit and vegetable intake, we must explore novel predictors. Our results need to be replicated, and more exploratory research in this field is needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)170-178
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Nutrition Education and Behavior
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2003


  • Adolescents
  • Dietary intake
  • Fruits and vegetables


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