Practical Opportunities for Healthy Diet and Physical Activity: Relationship to Intentions, Behaviors, and Body Mass Index


PURPOSE Current strategies for improving diet and activity patterns focus on encouraging patients to make better choices, but they meet with limited success. Because the choices people make depend on the choices they have, we examined how practical opportunities for diet and physical activity shape behavioral intentions and achieved behaviors.

METHODS Participants included 746 adults who visited 8 large primary care practices in the Residency Research Network of Texas in 2012. We used structural equation models to confirm factor structures for a previously validated measure of practical opportunities, and then modeled achieved diet (Starting the Conversation – Diet questionnaire), physical activity (International Physical Activity Questionnaire), and BMI as a function of opportunities (classified as either resources or conversion factors that influence use of resources), behavioral intentions, and demographic covariates.

RESULTS In path models, resources (P <.001) and conversion factors (P = .005) predicted behavioral intentions for activity. Conversion factors (P <.001), but not resources, predicted diet intentions. Both activity resources (P = .01) and conversion factors (P <.001) were positively associated with weekly activity minutes. Diet conversion factors (P <.001), but not diet resources (P = .08), were positively associated with diet quality. The same patterns were observed for body mass index (BMI). Socioeconomic gradients in resources and conversion factors were evident.

CONCLUSIONS Individuals’ feasible opportunities for healthy diet and activity have clinically meaningful associations with intentions, achieved behaviors, and BMI. Assessing opportunities as part of health behavior management could lead to more effective, efficient, and compassionate interventions.

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Autor / Fonte:Robert L. Ferrer, MD, MPH1?, Sandra K. Burge, PhD1, Raymond F. Palmer, PhD1 and Inez Cruz, PhD, MSW1 The RRNeT Investigators2 doi: 10.1370/afm.1886 Ann Fam Med March/April 2016 vol. 14 no. 2 109-116