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Dietary Behaviors among Fourth Graders: A Social Cognitive Theory Study Approach

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Objective: A social cognitive theory (SCT) framework was used to study the impact of factors on children's dietary practices. Methods: A stratified random sample (n=717) of fourth grade children was surveyed. Results: Compared to white children, black children were more likely to consume fewer dairy, more fat, and more sugar foods; and females were more likely than males to consume more fruits and vegetables and less protein. Model-building procedures revealed that self-efficacy, social support, meal preparation involvement, and fruit/vegetable availability were associated with dietary behavior. Conclusion: Components from SCT may prove useful in developing nutrition education for children.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Health and Kinesiology, College of Health and Professional Studies, Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, GA. 2: Department of Health Promotion and Education, School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC.

Publication date: May 1, 1999

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  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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