Evaluation of a fruit and vegetable education intervention for Georgia's Older Americans Act Nutrition Program participants
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Diet is a modifiable factor in preventing disease and improving health among older adults. A convenience sample of older adults in senior centers across Georgia (N = 558, mean age = 75, 83% female, 53% African American) completed a pre-test, intervention, and post-test. Eight lessons given over 16 weeks included information on current guidelines for fruit and vegetable intake, and ways to increase fruit and vegetable intake at meals and snacks. Pre- and post-tests examined self-reported intake of fruits and vegetables at breakfast, lunch, evening meal and snacks, knowledge of recommended intakes, and barriers to intake. The following showed significant improvement after the intervention (P < 0.0001): the number of participants reporting they eat 7 or more fruits and vegetables daily increased by 21-percentage points, and knowledge that 7 to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables are recommended daily (for 1,600 to 2,200 calories) increased from 7% to 57%. Significant decreases in three reported perceived barriers to consumption were found after the intervention (P < 0.05). Ninety-eight percent of participants reported that their satisfaction with the program was good, very good or excellent. In conclusion, this intervention improved knowledge and behaviors related to nutrition in older adults.