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Prev Med. 2008 Mar;46(3):216-21. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2007.12.012. Epub 2008 Jan 29.

Is physical activity a gateway behavior for diet? Findings from a physical activity trial.

Author information

1
Florida State University College of Medicine, Department of Medical Humanities and Social Sciences, 1115 W. Call Street, Tallahassee, FL 32306-4300, USA. gareth.dutton@med.fsu.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

While cross-sectional research indicates physical inactivity and poor diet tend to co-occur, there are limited longitudinal data on how interventions targeting one behavior affect other behaviors. The current investigation examined cross-sectional and longitudinal relationships between health behaviors within the context of a physical activity (PA) intervention.

METHODS:

Sedentary women (n=280; mean age=47.1; 94.6% Caucasian) were enrolled in a randomized controlled PA trial comparing the effects of print-based, individually-tailored and gender-targeted PA interventions to a wellness/control condition. Women completed baseline, month 3, and month 12 assessments that included measures of PA and dietary behaviors.

RESULTS:

Participants in more advanced PA stages of change reported significantly greater fruits/vegetables consumption than participants in less advanced stages, although the relationships between diet and minutes of weekly activity were less pronounced. The tailored and targeted print-based PA interventions had no effect on fruit/vegetable intake, although significant reductions in fat intake were observed from baseline (M=31.24%) to month 3 (M=30.41%), p<0.03; and baseline to month 12 (M=30.36%), p<0.01. Changes in PA were not predictive of improvements in eating behaviors.

CONCLUSIONS:

Although fat intake decreased in the context of this PA intervention, fruit/vegetable intake remained unchanged. Also, PA did not serve as a gateway behavior for dietary improvements. In fact, improvements in activity were associated with increases rather than decreases in fat intake.

PMID:
18234327
DOI:
10.1016/j.ypmed.2007.12.012
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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