Obesity is a significant problem among US veterans. Diets high in fruits and vegetables (FV) can lower obesity risk. Health communication interventions are promising strategies for promoting healthy eating. We evaluated whether an enhanced intervention with tailored newsletters and motivational interviewing calls would be more effective than the Veterans Affairs (VA) weight management program, MOVE!, at increasing FV intake among overweight/obese veterans.
Using a quasi-experimental design, 195 veterans at two clinics participated at baseline and 6-month follow-up from 2005-2006. Measures included daily FV intake and information processing of the intervention. The control group (MOVE!) received educational information, group sessions, and standard phone calls about weight. The intervention included MOVE! components plus tailored newsletters and motivational interviewing calls.
The intervention group reported a statistically significant increase in FV servings compared to control (1.7 vs. 1.2; p≤.05). Veterans who read more of the tailored newsletters (β=0.15, p=0.01) and perceived the messages as important (β=0.12, p<0.01) and applicable to their lives (β=0.12, p<0.01) ate more FV than those who did not. However, receiving MI calls and information processing regarding the calls were not associated with FV intake.
A tailored intervention can impact short term FV intake for obesity prevention.
Keywords: obesity, overweight, veterans health, fruit and vegetables, tailored print, motivational interviewing