Encouraging the Consumption of Fruit and Vegetables by Older Australians: An Experiential Study Academic Article uri icon


  • To explore perceptions of dietary recommendations for fruit and vegetables, and barriers and opportunities for increasing consumption.Qualitative study with an experiential component.Older adults' households.Six focus groups with 38 Australian adults aged 50 to 64 years who reported low vegetable consumption.Week 1: focus group including demonstration of recommended fruit and vegetable servings; week 2: delivery of a week's supply of fruit and vegetables and recipes; week 3: follow-up focus group.Perceptions of a healthful diet, fruit and vegetable recommendations, barriers to consumption, and reactions to the food delivery and recipes.Qualitative, thematic analysis.Participants were unfamiliar with serving recommendations. Barriers to consumption were as follows: perceptions that vegetables are eaten only with evening meals, preference for eating meat, believing that recommended quantities were too big, and a lack of preparation time. The delivery had a positive impact on some (especially low fruit consumers), for whom the availability of appealing fruit served as a prompt for consumption.Possible strategies for enabling consumers to achieve adequate fruit and vegetable consumption are education about the recommended number and size of servings and distribution of fruit and vegetables relative to meat and carbohydrates, encouragement to spread fruit and vegetable consumption over the day, and promoting the appealing sensory attributes of fruit and vegetables.

publication date

  • September 2004