Master of Science (MS)



Document Type



With the increasing rate of childhood obesity it is important to examine obesity prevention programs and strategies. The theory of planned behavior (TPB) has been identified as a successful framework to examine and understand human behavior and obesity prevention research. However, there is limited support for the TPB regarding its use and efficacy for understanding parents’ influence on the health behavior of their children. The purpose of this study was to: (a) describe the most common behavioral, normative, and control beliefs of parents’ serving vegetables to their children; (b) examine the social cognitive correlates of parents’ intentions to serve vegetables to their children; and (c) to determine the social cognitive correlates of parents’ behavior. Children in grades three to five were assessed for height and weight to generate Body Mass Index (BMI) reports. The BMI report was issued to the parents of 72 children along with a questionnaire assessing demographic information, nutrition beliefs, and social cognitive correlates. The results revealed attitude (r = .56) had the strongest relationship with intention, followed by perceived behavioral control (PBC, r = .52) and subjective norm (r = .35). Additionally, intention (r = .57) had the strongest association with behavior, followed by PBC (r = .53). Nutrition beliefs emphasized parents’ knowledge regarding the health benefits of vegetables as well as the difficulty serving vegetables because of busy schedules, time constraints, and children’s reluctance to eat vegetables. The findings indicate that strategies to enhance parents’ intentions to serve vegetables to their children should include education about the benefits, identification of barriers, development of strategies to address barriers, and elicitation of social influence from important others. In addition, methods to encourage parents’ to serve vegetables should include ways to enhance motivation and strategies to overcome barriers. Overall, the findings of the study supported the use of the TPB for understanding parents’ decisions regarding the health behavior of their children.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Rebecca Ellis Gardner



Included in

Kinesiology Commons