Self-Control Constructs Related to Measures of Dietary Intake and Physical Activity in Adolescents

Thomas A. Wills, Carmen R. Isasi, Don Mendoza, Michael G. Ainette

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: To test self-regulation concepts in relation to dietary intake and physical activity patterns in adolescence, which we predicted to be influenced by components of a self-control model. Methods: A survey was conducted with a multiethnic sample of 9th grade public school students in a metropolitan area (N = 539). Confirmatory analysis tested the measurement structure of self-control. Structural equation modeling tested the association of self-control constructs with measures of fruit and vegetable intake, saturated fat intake, physical activity, and sedentary behavior. Results: Confirmatory analysis of 14 indicators of self-control showed best fit for a two-factor structure, with latent constructs of good self-control (planfulness) and poor self-control (impulsiveness). Good self-control was related to more fruit and vegetable intake, more participation in sports, and less sedentary behavior. Poor self-control was related to more saturated fat intake and less vigorous exercise. These effects were independent of gender, ethnicity, and parental education, which themselves had relations to diet and exercise measures. Multiple-group modeling indicated that effects of self-control were comparable across gender and ethnicity subgroups. Conclusions: Self-control concepts are relevant for patterns of dietary intake and physical activity among adolescents. Attention to self-control processes may be warranted for prevention programs to improve health behaviors in childhood and adolescence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)551-558
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Volume41
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2007

Keywords

  • Adolescents
  • Diet
  • Ethnicity
  • Exercise
  • Gender
  • Self-control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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