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Discrepancy between Snack Choice Intentions and Behavior

      Abstract

      Objective

      To investigate dietary constructs that affect the discrepancy between intentioned and actual snack choice.

      Design

      Participants indicated their intentioned snack choice from a set of 4 snacks (2 healthful, 2 unhealthful). One week later, they actually chose a snack from the same set. Within 1 week after the actual choice, they completed a questionnaire that evaluated several dietary constructs.

      Setting

      Worksite cafeterias.

      Participants

      Office employees in the Netherlands (N = 585, 65% male, mean age 39.6 years [standard deviation = 9.2], 83% highly educated).

      Main Outcome Measures

      Snack choice intentions and actual snack choices (healthful vs unhealthful). Demographic and dietary constructs.

      Analysis

      Student t tests, chi-square tests, and logistic regression (P < .05).

      Results

      Forty-nine percent of the participants (n = 285) intended to choose a healthful snack. Of this group, 27% (n = 78) chose an unhealthful snack instead. Ninety-two percent (n = 276) of the unhealthful intenders did indeed choose an unhealthful snack. None of the dietary constructs significantly predicted the failure to enact a healthful snack choice intention.

      Conclusions and Implications

      Although a substantial discrepancy between healthful intentions and actual snack choice was demonstrated, the evaluated constructs do not adequately measure the psychological process by which intention is converted into practice. Further studies are required to further investigate this process.

      Key Words

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