Effects of Messages Emphasizing Environmental Determinants of Obesity on Intentions to Engage in Diet and Exercise Behaviors
Published Date:Dec 12 2013
Source:Prev Chronic Dis. 10.
Reducing rates of obesity will require interventions that influence both individual decisions and environmental factors through changes in public policy. Previous work indicates that messages emphasizing environmental determinants increases support for public policies, but some suspect this strategy may undermine motivation to engage in diet and exercise.
Study 1 involved 485 adults recruited from a shopping mall in New York. Study 2 involved 718 adult members of a Web-based national panel of US adults. Respondents in both studies were randomly assigned to read a story that emphasized environmental determinants of health or a control condition. The stories varied in the extent to which they described the story character as taking personal responsibility for weight management. Logistic regression and ordered logit models were used to test for differences in intentions to engage in diet and exercise behaviors based on which story the participant read. Analyses were also performed separately by participants’ weight status.
In both studies, messages that acknowledged personal responsibility while emphasizing environmental causes of obesity increased intentions to engage in healthy behavior for at least 1 weight status group.
Emphasizing factors outside of personal control appears to enhance rather than undermine motivations to engage in healthy diet and exercise behavior.
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