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Correlates of motivation to prevent weight gain: a cross sectional survey

Birgitte Wammes13*, Stef Kremers2, Boudewijn Breedveld3 and Johannes Brug1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Public Health, Erasmus University Medical Center, Rotterdam The Netherlands

2 Department of Health Education and Health Promotion, University Maastricht, The Netherlands

3 Netherlands Nutrition Centre Foundation, The Hague, The Netherlands

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International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 2005, 2:1  doi:10.1186/1479-5868-2-1

Published: 16 March 2005



This study is an application of the theory of planned behaviour (TPB) with additional variables to predict the motivations to prevent weight gain. In addition, variations in measures across individuals classified into Precaution Adoption Process stages (PAPM-stages) of behaviour change were investigated.


A cross-sectional survey among 979 non-obese Dutch adults aged 25–35 years was conducted. Multiple binary logistic regression analysis was conducted to assess the associations of Body Mass Index (BMI), demographic factors and psychosocial variables from the TPB with the intention to prevent weight gain. Differences in BMI, demographic and psychosocial factors between PAPM-stages were explored using one-way analysis of variance and chi-square tests.


Eighty-five percent of respondents intended to prevent weight gain. Age, attitudes and risk perceptions related to weight gain were the strongest correlates of intention (age: OR = 1.12, 95%CI: 1.04–1.20; attitude OR = 7.91, 95%CI: 5.33–11.74; risk perception OR = 1.24, 95%CI: 1.11–1.38). Significant differences were detected between the PAPM-stages in almost all variables. Notably, perceived behavioural control was lowest among people who had decided to prevent weight gain.


Messages to influence attitudes towards the prevention of weight gain and risk perception may affect people who are not yet motivated to prevent weight gain. Interventions increasing people's perceived behavioural control in overcoming barriers to prevent weight gain may help people to act on their intentions.

motivation; prevention; weight gain; predictors; stages of change