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Open Access Highly Accessed Research

Applying the Theory of Planned Behavior to healthy eating behaviors in urban Native American youth

Stefanie A Fila1 and Chery Smith2*

Author Affiliations

1 Albuquerque School System, 1304 Sierra Larga NE, Albuquerque, NM 87112, USA

2 University of Minnesota, Department of Food Science and Nutrition, 225 FScN, 1334 Eckles Ave, St. Paul, MN 55108–6099, USA

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International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 2006, 3:11  doi:10.1186/1479-5868-3-11

Published: 30 May 2006

Abstract

Background

To investigate the efficacy of the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) to predict healthy eating behavior in a group of urban Native American youth.

Methods

Native American boys and girls (n = 139), ages 9–18 years old, were given a self-administered survey to assess eating behavior using the TBP constructs (intention, attitude, subjective norm, barriers, self-efficacy, and perceived behavioral control). Youth were also measured for height and weight and body mass index (BMI) was calculated. Bivariate correlations and stepwise regression analyses of TBP model were performed with SPSS software.

Results

No association was found between intention and healthy eating behavior. However, independently healthy eating behavior was correlated with barriers (0.46), attitude (0.44), perceived behavioral control (0.35), and subjective norm (0.34). The most predictive barriers to eating healthy included the availability and taste of foods. Boys' eating behavior was most predicted by subjective norm, while girls' eating behavior was most predicted by barriers.

Conclusion

Lack of association between intention and healthy eating behavior suggests that factors other than intentions may drive healthy eating behaviors in urban Native American youth. Results indicate that programs promoting healthy eating to youth might focus on collaborating with families to make healthy foods more appealing to youth.