The Influence of Social Context on Changes in Fruit and Vegetable Consumption: Results of the Healthy Directions Studies

Center for Community-Based Research, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Mass 02115, USA.
American Journal of Public Health (Impact Factor: 4.55). 08/2007; 97(7):1216-27. DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2006.088120
Source: PubMed


As part of the Harvard Cancer Prevention Program Project, we used a social contextual model of health behavior change to test an intervention targeting multiple risk-related behaviors in working-class, multiethnic populations. We examined the relationships between the social contextual factors in our conceptual model and changes in fruit and vegetable consumption from baseline to completion of intervention in health centers and small business studies. We analyzed change in fruit and vegetable consumption, measured at baseline and final assessments by self-report, in 2 randomized controlled prevention trials: 1 in small businesses (n = 974) and 1 in health centers (n = 1954). Stronger social networks, social norms that were more supportive, food sufficiency, and less household crowding were associated with greater change in fruit and vegetable intake. We also observed differences between our intervention sites. Social context can play an important role in promoting changes in fruit and vegetable consumption.

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Available from: Tamara Dubowitz, Mar 31, 2014
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    • "As the results, their health status has also been compromised by rising rates of obesity and chronic diseases (Kearney, 2010). On the contrary, higher household incomes in wealthy European nations and the U.S. tend to be associated with greater consumption of vegetables (Sorensen et al., 2007; Lallukka et al., 2010; Sugerman et al., 2011). "

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    • "Body weight is not just a simple matter of energy balance (calorie intake and physical activity), but also a matter of genetic and socioeconomic factors [5,6]. Evidence shows that psychosocial work factors affect our health [7-13] and health behaviour, such as physical activity, drinking, smoking and dietary habits [14-19]. These health behaviours may be intermediate factors in the relationship between psychosocial work environment and health related outcomes. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Lifestyle variables may serve as important intermediate factors between psychosocial work environment and health outcomes. Previous studies, focussing on work stress models have shown mixed and weak results in relation to weight change. This study aims to investigate psychosocial factors outside the classical work stress models as potential predictors of change in body mass index (BMI) in a population of health care workers. Methods A cohort study, with three years follow-up, was conducted among Danish health care workers (3982 women and 152 men). Logistic regression analyses examined change in BMI (more than +/− 2 kg/m2) as predicted by baseline psychosocial work factors (work pace, workload, quality of leadership, influence at work, meaning of work, predictability, commitment, role clarity, and role conflicts) and five covariates (age, cohabitation, physical work demands, type of work position and seniority). Results Among women, high role conflicts predicted weight gain, while high role clarity predicted both weight gain and weight loss. Living alone also predicted weight gain among women, while older age decreased the odds of weight gain. High leadership quality predicted weight loss among men. Associations were generally weak, with the exception of quality of leadership, age, and cohabitation. Conclusion This study of a single occupational group suggested a few new risk factors for weight change outside the traditional work stress models.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2013 · BMC Public Health
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    • "Second, reliance on relatives, neighbors, and coworkers can reduce the cost of engaging in some pro-environment efforts. Third, to the extent that a person's social context influences the internalization of norms and values, peer pressure and attachment will determine behaviors (Sorensen et al. [37], Durlauf and Fafchamps [12], Passy [32]). "
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    ABSTRACT: We examine how social relationships are related to pro-environment behaviors. We use new data from a nationally representative US sample to estimate latent cluster models in which we describe individuals' profiles of social ties with family, neighbor, and coworkers along two dimensions: intensity of connections and pro-environment norms. While our results confirm the link between social ties and economic behaviors, we show that ties among relatives, neighbors, and coworkers are not perfect substitutes. In particular, we observe consistent relationships between green family profiles and altruistic and community-based behaviors. We also find that the effect of coworker ties is visible for cost-saving activities and altruistic behaviors, and that neighbors matter for working with others in the community to solve a local problem, volunteering, and recycling.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2012 · Journal of Environmental Economics and Management
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