Abstract 13136: The Influence of Cognitive-Perceptual Variables on Patterns of Change Over Time in Rural Midlife and Older Women's Healthy Eating
Although studies demonstrate that dietary interventions for healthy adults can result in beneficial dietary changes and lower cardiovascular risk, few studies examine when and how people change in response to these interventions. The purpose of this repeated-measures experimental design study was to examine patterns of change over time in healthy eating habits in 225 midlife and older rural women in response to a one-year health-promoting intervention, and to examine what predictors (perceived benefits, barriers, self-efficacy, and family support for healthy eating) influence the changes during the intervention (baseline to 12 months) and follow-up (18 & 24 months). Data for this study are from the Wellness for Women community-based trial. Two rural communities were randomized to either the intervention (tailored newsletters) or comparison (standard newsletter) groups. Women in these communities between the ages of 50-69 were recruited by random digit dialing. Eating behavior was measured by the Healthy Eating Index. The remaining variables were assessed using standard measures. Data analysis was done using a latent growth curve modeling approach. Healthy eating increased in both groups with the majority of change occurring in the first six months. Although no differences were found in change over time between groups during the intervention phase, women who received tailored newsletters had significantly higher levels of healthy eating during the year following the intervention than those who received standard newsletters. Being in the tailored newsletter group explained 9.9% of the variability in healthy eating in the follow-up phase. Participants whose families provided more support for healthy eating increased their healthy eating steadily during the intervention (b =6.32, z =2.36, p <.05), and after the intervention (b =1.85, z =2.41, p <.05). Barriers to healthy eating were a significant predictor influencing healthy eating behavior at baseline. Women in rural communities were able to use health promoting information about diet via a tailored newsletter to significantly improve their eating behavior. Family support needs to be the focus of interventions aimed at improving healthy eating for women living in rural areas.
- © 2011 by American Heart Association, Inc.