The association between consideration of future consequences and food intake is mediated by food choice motives in a French adult population

Public Health Nutr. 2024 Feb 8:1-29. doi: 10.1017/S1368980023002501. Online ahead of print.


Objectives: Consideration of future consequences (CFC) distinguishes individuals who adopt behaviors based on immediate needs and concerns from individuals who consider the future consequences of their behaviors. We aimed to assess the association between CFC and diet, and testing the mediating role of food choice motives on this relationship.

Design: Individuals (age≥18 years) completed the CFC-12 questionnaire in 2014, at least three 24-h dietary records, and a food choice motive questionnaire. A multiple mediator analysis allowed to assess the mediating effect of food choice motives on the cross-sectional association between CFC and diet, adjusted for socio-demographic factors.

Setting: Data from the NutriNet-Santé cohort study.

Participants: 27,330 participants.

Results: CFC was associated with all food choice motives (P < 0.001), with the strongest positive associations for avoidance for environmental reasons, absence of contaminants and health motives, and the strongest negative associations for innovation and convenience). Positive total effects were found between CFC and the consumption of healthy food groups (fruits and vegetables, whole-grain foods, legumes); and negative total effects for alcohol, meat and poultry and processed meat (P < 0.001). CFC was positively associated with diet quality (P < 0.001). Across food groups, major mediators of these relationships were higher health (8.4-32.6%), higher environmental (13.7-22.1 %) and lower innovation (7.3-25.1 %) concerns.

Conclusions: CFC was associated with healthier dietary intake, essentially mediated by a greater motivation of future-oriented participants for self-centered and altruistic outcomes, including health and environment. Focusing on the awareness of future benefits in public health interventions might lead to healthier dietary behaviors.

Keywords: Adults; Consideration of Future Consequences; Food Intake; Food choice motives; France.