At-Home Environment, Out-of-Home Environment, Snacks and Sweetened Beverages Intake in Preadolescence, Early and Mid-Adolescence: The Interplay Between Environment and Self-Regulation
Obesity-related behaviors, such as intake of snacks and sweetened beverages (SSB), are assumed to result from the interplay between environmental factors and adolescents’ ability to self-regulate their eating behaviors. The empirical evidence supporting this assumption is missing. This study investigated the relationships between perceptions of at-home and out-of-home food environment (including SSB accessibility, parental, and peers’ social pressure to reduce intake of SSB), nutrition self-regulatory strategies (controlling temptations and suppression), and SSB intake. In particular, we hypothesized that these associations would differ across the stages of preadolescence, early and mid-adolescence. Self-reported data were collected from 2,764 adolescents (10–17 years old; 49 % girls) from 24 schools in the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, and the United Kingdom. Path analysis indicated that direct associations between peers’ social influence and SSB intake increased with age. Direct negative associations between at-home and out-of-home accessibility and SSB intake as well as direct positive associations between parental pressure and intake become significantly weaker with age. Accessibility was related negatively to self-regulation, whereas higher social pressure was associated with higher self-regulation. The effects of the environmental factors were mediated by self-regulation. Quantitative and qualitative differences in self-regulation were observed across the stages of adolescence. The associations between the use of self-regulatory strategies and lower SSB intake become significantly stronger with age. In preadolescence, SSB intake was regulated by means of strategies that aimed at direct actions toward tempting food. In contrast, early and mid-adolescents controlled their SSB intake by means of a combination of self-regulatory strategies focusing on direct actions toward tempting food and strategies focusing on changing the psychological meaning of tempting food.
KeywordsAdolescence Self-regulation Social influence Family Peers Snack intake
This research was supported by the European Community FP7 Research Program, the TEMPEST consortium (Health-F2-2008-223488). Aleksandra Luszczynska, Anna Januszewicz, and Natalia Liszewska are supported by the Foundation for Polish Science.
AL conceived of the study, participated in its design and coordination, performed the statistical analysis and drafted the manuscript, JDW conceived of the study, participated in its design and coordination and helped to draft the manuscript; EDV conceived of the study, participated in its design and coordination; AJ participated in design and coordination of the study and performed the measurement; NL participated in coordination of the study, performed the measurement and helped to draft the manuscript; FJ participated in design and coordination of the study and interpretation of the data; MP participated in the design and coordination of the study and performed the measurement; TG participated in the design and coordination of the study and performed the measurement; MGM participated in the design and coordination of the study and interpretation of the data; FMS participated in design and coordination of the study and performed the measurement. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
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