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Public Health Nutr. 2005 Dec;8(8):1258-65.

Why do adolescents eat what they eat? Personal and social environmental predictors of fruit, snack and breakfast consumption among 12-14-year-old Dutch students.

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  • 1Department of Health Education and Promotion, Maastricht University, PO Box 616, 6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands.



The aim of the study was to investigate the relative importance of personal and social environmental predictors of the consumption of fruit, high-fat snacks and breakfast.


A school-based cross-sectional survey. Data were collected through written questionnaires.


Students from eight schools in the southern part of The Netherlands.


Six hundred and one students from preparatory secondary vocational education schools.


About a quarter of the variation in actual behaviours and intentions to change the behaviours could be explained. Stepwise multiple regression analysis revealed that, for all three behaviours, higher intention to change was especially associated with a more positive attitude and subjective norm, and higher intentions to increase fruit intake with more positive self-efficacy expectations. With regard to actual consumption, a more positive attitude towards eating fruit was the only significant correlate of a higher consumption of fruit. A more positive attitude towards eating high-fat snacks, perceived lower intake of the mother, and higher food availability and accessibility were associated with consumption of high-fat snacks, and a more positive attitude to breakfast more frequently was associated with more frequent breakfast consumption.


The results indicate that adolescents' attitudes are the most important determinants of different health-related eating behaviours and intentions to change. Interventions promoting a healthy diet for adolescents should include creative strategies to achieve positive associations with healthy dietary changes.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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