Comparison of barriers and facilitators of MIND diet uptake among adults from Northern Ireland and Italy.

Deirdre Timlin, Barbara Giannantoni, Jacqueline McCormack, Angela Polito, Donatella Ciarapica, Elena Azzini, Melanie Giles, Liz Simpson

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Background: The aim of the study was to identify and compare components of the COM-B (capability, opportunity, motivation and behaviour) model, that influences behaviour to modify dietary patterns in 40–55-year olds living in Northern Ireland (NI) and Italy, in order to reduce the risk of cognitive decline in later life. Methods: This was a qualitative study examining factors influencing Mediterranean-DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (MIND) diet behaviour. This study further elaborated the COM-B components into the 14 domains of the Theoretical Domains Framework to further understand behaviour. Twenty-five Northern Irish and Italian participants were recruited onto the study, to take part in either a focus group or an interview. Participants were both male and female aged between 40 and 55 years. Results: Thematic analysis revealed that the main barriers to the uptake of the MIND diet were; time, work environment (opportunity), taste preference and convenience (motivation). Culture (motivation), seasonal foods and lack of family support (opportunity) to be a barrier to the Italian sample only. The main facilitators reported were; improved health, memory, planning and organisation (motivation) and access to good quality food (opportunity). Cooking skills, knowledge (capability) and heathy work lunch (opportunity) reported as a facilitator to the Italian sample only. Conclusions: Cross-cultural differences in relation to psychosocial barriers and facilitators were found in both samples. More barriers than facilitators towards uptake of the MIND diet were found. There is a need for interventions that increase capability, opportunity, and motivation to aid behaviour change. The findings from this study will be used to design a behaviour change intervention using the subsequent steps from the Behaviour Change Wheel.

Original languageEnglish
Article number265
Pages (from-to)1-17
JournalBMC Public Health
Issue number1
Early online date2 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished online - 2 Feb 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research is part of a PhD thesis funded by The Department for the Economy (DfE), the funding body for PhD research in Northern Ireland. The funding body had no role in the research.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).

Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • MIND diet
  • COM-B model
  • dementia
  • adoption
  • brain health
  • behaviour change wheel
  • Brain health
  • Behaviour change wheel
  • Adoption
  • Dementia
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Male
  • Northern Ireland
  • Health Promotion
  • Diet
  • Motivation
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Italy


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