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Theory of reasoned action and theory of planned behavior-based dietary interventions in adolescents and young adults: a systematic review

Authors Hackman C, Knowlden A

Received 22 January 2014

Accepted for publication 4 March 2014

Published 6 June 2014 Volume 2014:5 Pages 101—114


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Christine L Hackman, Adam P Knowlden

Department of Health Science, The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL, USA

Background: Childhood obesity has reached epidemic proportions in many nations around the world. The theory of planned behavior (TPB) and the theory of reasoned action (TRA) have been used to successfully plan and evaluate numerous interventions for many different behaviors. The aim of this study was to systematically review and synthesize TPB and TRA-based dietary behavior interventions targeting adolescents and young adults.
Methods: The following databases were systematically searched to find articles for this review: Academic Search Premier; Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health (CINAHL); Education Resources Information Center (ERIC); Health Source: Nursing/Academic Edition; Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL); and MEDLINE. Inclusion criteria for articles were: 1) primary or secondary interventions, 2) with any quantitative design, 3) published in the English language, 4) between January 2003 and March 2014, 5) that targeted adolescents or young adults, 6) which included dietary change behavior as the outcome, and 7) utilized TPB or TRA.
Results: Of the eleven intervention studies evaluated, nine resulted in dietary behavior change that was attributed to the treatment. Additionally, all but one study found there to be a change in at least one construct of TRA or TPB, while one study did not measure constructs. All of the studies utilized some type of quantitative design, with two employing quasi-experimental, and eight employing randomized control trial design. Among the studies, four utilized technology including emails, social media posts, information on school websites, web-based activities, audio messages in classrooms, interactive DVDs, and health-related websites. Two studies incorporated goal setting and four employed persuasive communication.
Conclusion: Interventions directed toward changing dietary behaviors in adolescents should aim to incorporate multi-faceted, theory-based approaches. Future studies should consider utilizing randomized control trial design and operationalize variables. More research is needed to identify the optimal TPB and TRA modalities to modify dietary behaviors.

Keywords: youth, nutrition behavior, theory of planned behavior, theory of reasoned action

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