Individual and environmental correlates of dietary fat intake in rural communities: a structural equation model analysis

Soc Sci Med. 2010 Jul;71(1):93-101. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2010.03.028. Epub 2010 Apr 13.


Total dietary fat and saturated fat intake are associated with obesity, elevated cholesterol, and heart disease. This study tested a multi-group structural equation model to explore differences in the relative influence of individual, social, and physical environment factors on dietary fat intake amongst adults aged 40-70 years. Participants from four rural Georgia, U.S., counties (n=527) completed a cross-sectional survey that included questions about eating patterns and individual and social influences on healthy eating. Observational measures of nutrition environments in stores and restaurants in these counties also were completed. Models for both women and men found significant positive relationships between self-efficacy for healthy eating and perceived nutrition environments and family support for healthy eating. The association between self-efficacy for eating a low-fat diet and frequency of eating out and grocery shopping was negative for both genders. The home nutrition environment was associated with dietary fat intake for women but not men. The results indicate that the influence of individual and environmental factors on dietary fat intake differs for men and women, with the home environment playing a larger role for women in rural communities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet Surveys
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage*
  • Feeding Behavior / psychology*
  • Female
  • Georgia
  • Humans
  • Individuality*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Psychological
  • Observation
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Rural Population / statistics & numerical data*
  • Self Efficacy
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Environment*


  • Dietary Fats