Poor dietary choices, in particular low consumption of fruits and vegetables are associated with the prevalence of diet related diseases. Ways to increase consumption are urgently required. This paper examines the associations of demographic, psychographic and food knowledge variables with reported vegetable consumption.
An online questionnaire was administered in late 2012 to a national sample 2146 Australians who were selected to represent the Australian population in terms of age, sex, education and location of residence. It was divided into sections which assessed food knowledge, food involvement, food mavenism, personal values and personality factors, demographic characteristics and reported consumption of 13 vegetables and the total number of servings of vegetables per day. Principal components analyses of the individual vegetable consumption ratings derived three forms of vegetable consumption scores. These and total serving per day were used as dependent variables in a structural equation model to identify pathways between them and their likely antecedents.
Three types of vegetable consumption were formed:Salad vegetables (onion, tomato and lettuce);Dinner vegetables (carrot, peas and beans); and‘Green’ vegetables (cabbage, spinach broccoli and cauliflower). Food mavenism, food knowledge, food involvement and equality-universalist values mediated the relationships between demographics and conscientiousness and the vegetable consumption variables.
The three types of vegetable consumption and total servings per day were associated with different antecedent pathways. The mediating roles of food mavenism, food knowledge, food involvement and equality-universalist values may present opportunities for health promotion and the horticultural industry to increase population vegetable intake. Further research is required to test these associations via experimental and longitudinal studies and qualitative investigation of the meaning and place of the three forms of vegetable consumption in people's daily lives is recommended.