The benefits of fruit consumption for health are well-established,1–5 and public health promotions and interventions to increase fruit consumption are used in many countries, including New Zealand (NZ).6–8 Recent NZ data show that only half NZ adults consume two or more servings of fruit each day.9 Variability in intake exists across sub-populations. Older females generally have higher intakes.10,11 Low income and neighbourhood deprivation is associated with lower fruit consumption.12–15
Deprivation is a broader concept than low income, encompassing aspects such as employment, living space and support. Several of these characteristics have also been identified as correlates of barriers to fruit consumption.13,14 A review of available literature suggests that there are no previous reports exploring fruit consumption in high deprivation populations in New Zealand.
As a moderator of fruit consumption, the study included a measure of self-efficacy. Self-efficacy pertains to a person's belief of whether they are confident that they can undertake the desired behaviour when faced with specific barriers.16 These barriers comprise of more superficial factors such as when alone, when in a hurry or during weekends, as opposed broader social, cultural and financial barriers. This measure is intended to provide an indication of a person's willingness to change behaviour in the face of such challenges. For example, people with high self-efficacy beliefs for a focal behaviour will likely find it easier to make or maintain behavioural change,17,18 for example achieving a target of consuming two or more servings of fruit per day. Previous research has found that self-efficacy for fruit and vegetable consumption is both strongly and consistently associated with higher intakes both within the general population and within low income populations.12,19–21 Again, a review of available literature suggests that this construct does not appear to have been studied in connection with deprivation.