Psychosocial and behavioral factors affecting dietary intake in relation to federal dietary guidance
Haack, Sarah Alexis.
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The purpose of this research is to identify psychosocial and cognitive correlates of dietary intake patterns and weight status, and to evaluate the effectiveness of nutrition guides and federal dietary guidance from an historical approach, identifying their long-term role in health attitudes and behaviors. Forty-seven college students completed a 24- hour dietary recall and Dietary Awareness Survey measuring demographic characteristics of participants, knowledge of the Food Guide Pyramid (FGP), support for federal dietary guidance, and self-efficacy for eating healthy. Adherence to FGP recommendations was low among participants, as were knowledge, support, and self-efficacy scores. No significant correlation was found between knowledge and intake. While there was no evidence of association between support, self-efficacy, and adherence, support was significantly correlated with increased fruit intake, and self-efficacy was associated with decreased intake of soft drinks. Lastly, those adhering to overall and dairy FGP recommendations had higher BMI scores than those not adhering. These results suggest limited retention of nutrition guide recommendations, as well as psychosocial determinants of adherence beyond intrapersonal factors. Limitations included, self-reported weight and dietary intake data, which may have introduced response bias, as well as a small, homogenous sample, limiting external validity. Future research should examine the role of interpersonal and environmental constructs in affecting dietary intake, as well as the association between dairy intake and weight status.