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.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Psychiatry and Mental health