This article reviews the influence of selected personal and environmental factors on dietary behavior for chronic disease prevention. Factors to be reviewed were selected a priori. Computer-assisted searches for English-language publications in the MEDLINE database were conducted and references cited in related publications were reviewed.The literature search was further restricted to population-based research conducted since 1980 that focused on healthy U.S. adults.Taste preferences appear to be a barrier to dietary change for many Americans. Many are confused by the current dietary recommendations, and it appears that, for some, this perception may result in dietary inaction.Time constraints in conjunction with the perception that it is more difficult to eat a healthful diet appear to be a significant barrier to dietary change for some. Data regarding the perceived cost of eating a healthful diet suggest that a notable proportion of Americans think that it costs more to eat a healthful diet. Nutrition knowledge and beliefs compete with a myriad of factors in determining the dietary behavior of Americans. Consequently, public health interventions to change the American diet likely need to be multifaceted, with nutrition education occurring in conjunction with other intervention strategies.