Psychosocial correlates of eating behavior in children and adolescents: A review

Arianna D. McClain, Courtney Chappuis, Selena T. Nguyen-Rodriguez, Amy L. Yaroch, Donna Spruijt-Metz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

102 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Understanding the correlates of dietary intake is necessary in order to effectively promote healthy dietary behavior among children and adolescents. A literature review was conducted on the correlates of the following categories of dietary intake in children and adolescents: Fruit, Juice and Vegetable Consumption, Fat in Diet, Total Energy Intake, Sugar Snacking, Sweetened Beverage Consumption, Dietary Fiber, Other Healthy Dietary Consumption, and Other Less Healthy Dietary Consumption in children and adolescents. Methods: Cross-sectional and prospective studies were identified from PubMed, PsycINFO and PsycArticles by using a combination of search terms. Quantitative research examining determinants of dietary intake among children and adolescents aged 3-18 years were included. The selection and review process yielded information on country, study design, population, instrument used for measuring intake, and quality of research study. Results: Seventy-seven articles were included. Many potential correlates have been studied among children and adolescents. However, for many hypothesized correlates substantial evidence is lacking due to a dearth of research. The correlates best supported by the literature are: perceived modeling, dietary intentions, norms, liking and preferences. Perceived modeling and dietary intentions have the most consistent and positive associations with eating behavior. Norms, liking, and preferences were also consistently and positively related to eating behavior in children and adolescents. Availability, knowledge, outcome expectations, self-efficacy and social support did not show consistent relationships across dietary outcomes. Conclusion: This review examined the correlates of various dietary intake; Fruit, Juice and Vegetable Consumption, Fat in Diet, Total Energy Intake, Sugar Snacking, Sweetened Beverage Consumption, Dietary Fiber, Other Healthy Dietary Consumption, and Other Less Healthy Dietary Consumption in cross-sectional and prospective studies for children and adolescents. The correlates most consistently supported by evidence were perceived modeling, dietary intentions, norms, liking and preferences. More prospective studies on the psychosocial determinants of eating behavior using broader theoretical perspectives should be examined in future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1479
Pages (from-to)54
Number of pages1
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity
Volume6
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 12 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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