The objective of this study was to identify factors affecting the purchase and preparation of fruits and vegetables according to stage of change for low-income African American women with young children. The think-aloud method was used to collect verbalization data in grocery stores as women shopped (N=70) and in their homes during meal preparation (N=68). Audiotaped verbalizations were transcribed verbatim before encoding. Content analysis procedures were used to identify common themes by stage of change. Factors affecting decision making that varied by stage of change were preferences and specific needs (eg, for meals, for family members). Preferences regarding variety, quantity, color, and liking were more often expressed by women in later stages. Women in the later stages also often used meal-planning skills to include fruits and vegetables in meals. Interventions could be tailored according to selected factors regarding purchase and preparation of fruits and vegetables by stage of change to contribute to greater changes in intake.
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