Does Behavioral Intention Predict Nutrition Behaviors Related to Adolescent Obesity?

Melinda J. Ickes, Manoj Sharma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The theory of planned behavior (TPB) proposes that the single best predictor of a person’s behavior is intention to perform that behavior. Successful application of the TPB supports that attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral control are predictive factors of behavioral intention (BI). The purpose of this study was to examine the extent to which BI predicted nutrition behaviors linked to adolescent obesity. A cross-sectional design obtained a convenience sample of 318 middle school students who completed a 129-item validated instrument. Multiple regression was used to establish predictors for fruit and vegetable (FV) consumption and sweetened beverages (SBs) versus water consumption. The mean BI scores were as follows: FV consumption, M = 12.18, standard deviation [SD] = 5.74, and SB versus water consumption, M = 12.42, SD = 6.07. This denotes a moderate intent to participate in the behavior. Regression showed that BI was predictive for consumption of FV among overweight and obese students and consumption of water versus SB in normal weight students (P < .05). BI was linked to nutrition behaviors related to obesity prevention in adolescents. Differences among those students who were considered normal weight and overweight/obese existed and should be considered when working with these populations and designing future interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-48
Number of pages11
JournalICAN: Infant, Child, & Adolescent Nutrition
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2011


  • adolescents
  • fruit and vegetables
  • intention
  • modifiable behaviors
  • sweetened beverages
  • theory of planned behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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