Understanding fruit and vegetable eating behaviour in British primary school children. An application of the Theory of Planned Behaviour.


Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review


Fruit/vegetable consumption in childhood has wide ranging implications including decreased risk of childhood obesity. Few studies have sought to predict children’s intention and behaviour related to fruit/vegetable consumption in the context of weight status. This study sought to test the utility of the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) for the prediction of these variables. Following local ethics approval and parental and child consent, 72 children (29 boys, 43 girls, Mean age±SD=9±1years) completed a validated self report measures of Intention to consume 5 portions of fruit/vegetables daily, TPB variables (attitude, subjective norm, perceived behavioural control (PBC) related to fruit/vegetable consumption), measures of actual fruit/vegetable eating behaviour and were assessed for stature (m) and body mass (kg) from which body mass index (BMI) was determined. Two backwards linear regression analyses were conducted: In the first analysis, intention was regressed, on TPB variables and BMI; in the second analysis, fruit/vegetable scores were regressed, on intention, TPB variables and BMI. Attitude and subjective norm significantly predicted children’s intention to consume 5 portions of fruit/vegetables daily (P=0.0001, AdjR2=0.475) predicting 47.5% of the variance in this measure. Intention, attitude, subjective norm and BMI significantly (P=0.0001, AdjR2=0.387) accounted for 38.7% of the variance in fruit/vegetable eating behaviours. This study suggests that TPB variables are predictive of fruit/vegetable eating intention and behaviour but that BMI is only predictive of fruit/vegetable eating behaviour, with higher BMI associated with lower daily consumption of fruit and vegetables in British children.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199
Publication statusPublished - May 2014
Externally publishedYes


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