Predicting childhood obesity prevention behaviors using social cognitive theory in Chinese children

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Dr. Manoj Sharma

Professor Health Promotion & Education
College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services
+1 (513) 556-3878

Four commonly suggested public health strategies to combat childhood obesity are limiting television viewing, encouraging daily physical activity, increasing fruit and vegetable intake, and increasing water consumption. This study examined the extent to which selected social cognitive theory constructs can predict these four behaviors in upper elementary Chinese children. A 55-item valid and reliable scale was administered to 282 fifth-graders. Minutes of physical activity was predicted by self-efficacy to exercise and number of times taught at school (R2=0.198). Hours of TV watching were predicted by self-efficacy of watching less than 2 hours of TV (R2=0.155). Glasses of water consumed were predicted by self-efficacy for drinking water, gender, and number of times taught about physical activity at school (R2=0.100). Servings of fruits and vegetables consumed were predicted by self-efficacy of eating fruits and vegetables (R2=0.197). Social cognitive theory offers a useful framework for designing primary prevention interventions to reduce childhood obesity.

Project commenced on August 1, 2006

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