Document Type

Journal Article

Department/Unit

Department of Communication Studies

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of the study was to apply the theory of planned behavior to predict Danish adolescents’ behavioral intention for healthy eating.

Design/methodology/approach – A cluster sample survey of 410 students aged 11 to 16 years studying in Grade 6 to Grade 10 was conducted in Denmark.

Findings – Perceived behavioral control followed by attitudes were the most important factors in predicting behavioral intention. Females and adolescents with a higher Body Mass Index were also found to have a stronger behavioral intention. Healthy eating was perceived to be beneficial and useful, and, to a lesser extent, interesting and desirable. Family, TV programs, and teachers were influential socialization agents.

Research limitations/implications – The survey responses may be affected by a social desirability bias. The survey includes a non‐probability sample and results may not be generalized to all adolescents, even in Denmark.

Practical implications – The results may inform educators and policy makers in designing health communication interventions, particularly in making socializing agents aware of their role in fostering healthy eating behaviors in adolescents. As perceived behavioral control was the strongest predictor of behavioral intention, interventions and messages communicated to adolescents on healthy eating should aim to empower them with knowledge, ability and determination to eat more healthily.

Originality/value – The study uses a predictive, theoretical framework (TPB) to investigate healthy eating, whereas previous efforts among Danish adolescents have primarily used descriptive approaches.

Publication Year

2012

Journal Title

Health Education

Volume number

113

Issue number

1

Publisher

Emerald

First Page (page number)

4

Last Page (page number)

17

Referreed

1

DOI

10.1108/09654281311293600

ISSN (print)

09654283

Link to Publisher’s Edition

http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/09654281311293600

Keywords

Adolescents, Health, Eating, Diet, Social marketing, Attitudes, Behaviour change, Denmark, Students, Personal health

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