Psychosocial correlates of fruit, vegetable, and dietary fat intake among adolescent boys and girls

J Am Diet Assoc. 2006 Jun;106(6):814-21. doi: 10.1016/j.jada.2006.03.014.


Objective: This study examined whether hypothesized psychosocial correlates of behavior change (family/peer influence, pros, cons, self-efficacy, parent/child change strategies, and household eating rules) are associated with consumption of fruits, vegetables, and dietary fat among adolescent boys and girls.

Design: This cross-sectional study used questionnaires to assess psychosocial variables and multiple 24-hour recall interviews to assess dietary intake (daily servings of fruits and vegetables and percentage energy intake from dietary fat).

Subjects: In this study, 878 adolescents (53.6% female, 57.9% white, mean age 12.8 years, age range 11 to 15 years) completed questionnaires.

Statistical analyses performed: Hierarchical linear regressions were conducted on the entire sample as well as on subgroups based on sex and age (young/old).

Results: Results indicated that child behavior change strategies, decisional balance, and household rules were related to percentage energy intake from total fat, whereas child behavior change strategies, family influence, and household rules were related to daily servings of fruit and vegetables. More psychosocial correlates were found for older than for younger adolescents.

Conclusions: Both psychological and social correlates of adolescent eating behaviors were identified, and correlates differed somewhat by adolescent subgroup. Based on these findings, promising intervention strategies that include the following should be evaluated: helping adolescents alter decisional balance, teaching behavior-change strategies, and helping parents support children's dietary changes and institute supportive household rules.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Behavior*
  • Child
  • Diet Records
  • Diet*
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage*
  • Family / psychology
  • Female
  • Fruit*
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Mental Recall
  • Parents / psychology
  • Psychology
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Vegetables*


  • Dietary Fats