What does a person's eating identity add to environmental influences on fruit and vegetable intake?

Xiaonan Ma, Christine E. Blake, Timothy L. Barnes, Bethany A. Bell, Angela D. Liese

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Objective To evaluate whether knowledge of a person's eating identity (EI) can explain any additional variation in fruit and vegetable intake above and beyond that explained by food environment characteristics, perceptions of the food environment, and shopping behaviors. Design Cross-sectional study. Setting A total of 968 adults were recruited for a telephone survey by the Survey Research Laboratory in an eight-county region in South Carolina. Subjects The survey queried information on shopping behaviors, perceptions of the food environment, demographic and address information, fruit and vegetable intake, and EI. EI was assessed using the Eating Identity Type Inventory, a 12-item instrument that differentiates four eating identity types: healthy, emotional, meat, and picky. Statistical analyses were restricted to 819 participants with complete data. Results Healthy EI and picky EI were significantly and directly related to fruit and vegetable intake, with coefficients of 0.31 (p-value<0.001) for healthy EI and −0.16 (p-value<0.001) for picky EI, whereas emotional EI (β = 0.00, p-value = 0.905) and meat EI (β = −0.04, p-value = 0.258) showed no association. Shopping frequency also directly and significantly influenced fruit and vegetable intake (β = 0.13, p-value = 0.033). With the inclusion of EI, 16.3% of the variation in fruit and vegetable intake was explained. Conclusions Perceptions and GIS-based measures of environmental factors alone do not explain a substantial amount of variation in fruit and vegetable intake. EI, especially healthy EI and picky EI, is an important, independent predictor of fruit and vegetable intake and contributes significantly to explaining the variation in fruit and vegetable intake.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)130-135
Number of pages6
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project was supported by grant R21CA132133 from the National Cancer Institute . The contents of this article are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the National Cancer Institute or the National Institutes of Health. There are no conflicts of interest to disclose. The authors would like to thank James D Hibbert for geocoding the data and conducting GIS analyses.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier Ltd


  • Eating identity
  • Environmental
  • Fruit and vegetable intake
  • GIS-Based
  • Perceptions

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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