Understanding the relationship between fruit and vegetable knowledge (FVK) and fruit and vegetable intake (FVI) is an important consideration for improved public health and successful targeting of health promotion messaging. The aim of this study was to investigate the association between FVK and FVI in Australian adults and to identify subgroups most at risk of poor knowledge. Using data from the Australian Diabetes, Obesity, and Lifestyle Study (AusDiab), we investigated associations between FVK and FVI, as well as demographic and lifestyle factors. Baseline FVK was measured using two self-reported questions. FVI was assessed using a validated, self-reported, food frequency questionnaire in 1999/00 (baseline), 2004/05, and 2011/12. Amongst the 8966 participants assessed at baseline, 24.1% had adequate, 73.0% had insufficient, and 2.9% had poor FVK. Using linear regression, those with insufficient or poor FVK reported significantly lower FVI (grams/day) compared to those with adequate FVK: baseline (coefficient (95%CI)): −67.1 (−80.0, −54.3) and −124.0 (−142.9, −105.1), respectively, whilst, at 12 years, the differences were −42.5 (−54.6, −30.5) and −94.6 (−133.8, −55.5) grams/day, respectively (all p < 0.001). Poor FVK was more likely to be reported in males, older individuals (>65 years), socio-economically disadvantaged, smokers, and those with insufficient physical activity/sedentary behavior. We demonstrate that having adequate knowledge of FVI, defined as knowing to consume fruit and vegetables several times a day for a well-balanced diet, is strongly associated with FVI, with several demographic and lifestyle factors predicting FVK. Health promotion messages aimed at increasing FVK should target these subgroups for maximal effect.
- Health promotion