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Weight resilience and fruit and vegetable intake among African-American women in an obesogenic environment

  • Sara M Parisi (a1), Lisa M Bodnar (a1) (a2) (a3) and Tamara Dubowitz (a4)

To investigate relationships between weight resilience (maintaining a normal weight in a food desert environment) and fruit and vegetable (F&V) intake, attitudes and barriers.


Cross-sectional, in-person surveys collected May–December 2011, including self-reported data on F&V-related psychosocial factors, attitudes and barriers. Two 24 h dietary recalls were completed; weight and height were measured. Multivariable regression models estimated prevalence ratios (95 % CI).


Two low-income, predominantly African-American food deserts in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.


Women aged 18–49 years (n 279) who were the primary food shopper in a household randomly selected for a parent study.


Fifteen per cent were weight resilient, 30 % were overweight and 55 % were obese. Overall, 25 % reported eating ≥5 F&V servings/d. After adjustment for age, education, parity, employment, living alone, physical activity, per capita income and mean daily energy intake, women eating ≥5 F&V servings/d were 94 % more likely to be weight resilient compared with those eating <5 servings/d (1·94; 1·10, 3·43). Across BMI groups, self-efficacy regarding F&V consumption was high and few F&V barriers were reported. The most frequently reported barrier was concern about the cost of F&V (36 %). Of the attitudinal F&V-related factors, only concern about wasting food when serving F&V was associated with weight resilience in adjusted models (0·29; 0·09, 0·94). In a model predicting consuming ≥5 F&V servings/d, driving one’s own car to the store was the only attitudinal F&V-related factor associated with consumption (1·50; 1·00, 2·24).


In this population, weight resilience may be encouraged by improving access to affordable and convenient F&V options and providing education on ways to make them palatable to the entire household, rather than by shifting women’s F&V perceptions, which are already positive.

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