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Health Promot Pract. 2014 Jan;15(1):134-40. doi: 10.1177/1524839913481974. Epub 2013 Mar 28.

Comparing the utility of the theory of planned behavior between boys and girls for predicting snack food consumption: implications for practice.

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  • 11The University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK, USA.


The purpose of this study was to use the theory of planned behavior to explain two types of snack food consumption among boys and girls (girls n = 98; boys n = 69), which may have implications for future theory-based health promotion interventions. Between genders, there was a significant difference for calorie-dense/nutrient-poor snacks (p = .002), but no difference for fruit and vegetable snacks. Using stepwise multiple regression, attitudes, perceived behavioral control, and subjective norms accounted for a large amount of the variance of intentions (girls = 43.3%; boys = 55.9%); however, for girls, subjective norms accounted for the most variance, whereas for boys, attitudes accounted for the most variance. Calories from calorie-dense/nutrient-poor snacks and fruit and vegetable snacks were also predicted by intentions. For boys, intentions predicted 6.4% of the variance for fruit and vegetable snacks (p = .03) but was not significant for calorie-dense/nutrient-poor snacks, whereas for girls, intentions predicted 6.0% of the variance for fruit and vegetable snacks (p = .007), and 7.2% of the variance for calorie-dense/nutrient-poor snacks (p = .004). Results suggest that the theory of planned behavior is a useful framework for predicting snack foods among children; however, there are important differences between genders that should be considered in future health promotion interventions.


behavior change theory; child/adolescent health; health education; nutrition; theory

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