Title page for ETD etd-09062006-083805

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Villarrubia, Alissa
Author's Email Address avilla@lsu.edu
URN etd-09062006-083805
Title Understanding Parents' Decisions about Serving Vegetables to Their Children
Degree Master of Science (M.S.)
Department Kinesiology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Rebecca Ellis Gardner Committee Chair
Georgianna Tuuri Committee Member
Robert Wood Committee Member
  • body mass index
  • theory of planned behavior
Date of Defense 2006-07-21
Availability unrestricted
With the increasing rate of childhood obesity it is important to examine obesity prevention programs and strategies. The theory of planned behavior (TPB) has been identified as a successful framework to examine and understand human behavior and obesity prevention research. However, there is limited support for the TPB regarding its use and efficacy for understanding parentsí influence on the health behavior of their children. The purpose of this study was to: (a) describe the most common behavioral, normative, and control beliefs of parentsí serving vegetables to their children; (b) examine the social cognitive correlates of parentsí intentions to serve vegetables to their children; and (c) to determine the social cognitive correlates of parentsí behavior. Children in grades three to five were assessed for height and weight to generate Body Mass Index (BMI) reports. The BMI report was issued to the parents of 72 children along with a questionnaire assessing demographic information, nutrition beliefs, and social cognitive correlates. The results revealed attitude (r = .56) had the strongest relationship with intention, followed by perceived behavioral control (PBC, r = .52) and subjective norm (r = .35). Additionally, intention (r = .57) had the strongest association with behavior, followed by PBC (r = .53). Nutrition beliefs emphasized parentsí knowledge regarding the health benefits of vegetables as well as the difficulty serving vegetables because of busy schedules, time constraints, and childrenís reluctance to eat vegetables. The findings indicate that strategies to enhance parentsí intentions to serve vegetables to their children should include education about the benefits, identification of barriers, development of strategies to address barriers, and elicitation of social influence from important others. In addition, methods to encourage parentsí to serve vegetables should include ways to enhance motivation and strategies to overcome barriers. Overall, the findings of the study supported the use of the TPB for understanding parentsí decisions regarding the health behavior of their children.
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