Effects of Treatment-Associated Increases in Fruit and Vegetable Intake on the Consumption of Other Food Groups and Weight Through Self-Regulatory Processes

James J. Annesi, Kennesaw State University


Context: Increased intake of fruits and vegetables (FV) may be useful for weight loss.

Objective: This study was designed to evaluate the effects of changes in FV intake on the overall diet and to determine if self-regulation affects the association between changes in FV intake and weight.

Methods: Women with obesity (N = 74, mean age = 47.7 years) participating in a year-long behavioral weight-loss treatment were assessed regarding changes in consumption of various food groups, physical activity, and eating self-regulation over 6, 12, and 24 months.

Results: FV intake change significantly predicted changes in weight and consumption of dairy and bread products and sweets. The only other notable relationships were among changes in sweets, bread, and dairy consumption over 24 months. Over 6, 12, and 24 months, changes in self-regulation significantly mediated the FV intake-weight change relationship. The overall mediation models were significant (R2 values = 0.19, 0.13, and 0.32, respectively). A reciprocal relationship between changes in FV intake and self-regulation also was found. Significant increases in physical activity outputs did not influence weight changes.

Conclusion: Findings supported a relationship between FV intake and weight loss occurring through self-regulatory skills. Associations between FV intake and reduced consumption of other food groups provided data useful for improving the architecture of behavioral weight-loss treatments and the foci of medical practitioners’ helping methods.