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Examination of how food environment and psychological factors interact in their relationship with dietary behaviours: test of a cross-sectional model

Examination of how food environment and psychological factors interact in their relationship with dietary behaviours: test of a cross-sectional model
Examination of how food environment and psychological factors interact in their relationship with dietary behaviours: test of a cross-sectional model
Background: to improve population diet environmental strategies have been hailed the panacea because they require little agency or investment of personal resources; this contrasts with conventional strategies that rely on individuals to engage high levels of agency and make deliberate choices. There is an immediate need to improve understanding of the synergy between the psychological and environmental determinants of diet in order to optimise allocation of precious public health resources. This study examined the synergistic and relative association between a number of food environment and psychological factors and the dietary behaviours of a population sample of women with young children.Methods : women in Hampshire were recruited from children’s centres and asked about their demographic characteristics, psychological resources, dietary behaviours (food frequency questionnaire) and perceptions of healthy food access and affordability. Three local food environment factors were objectively assessed: i) spatial access to food outlets using activity spaces; ii) healthfulness of the supermarket where women did their main food shop, (based on nine in-store factors including price, placement and promotion on seven healthy and less healthy foods); iii) nutrition environment of children’s centres visited frequently by the women, assessed via staff-administered questionnaire. A theoretical model linking environmental factors to dietary behaviours, both directly and indirectly through three factors representing individual agency (psychological resources, perceived food affordability, perceived food accessibility), was tested using Structural Equation Modelling.Results: complete data were available for 753 women. The environment of women’s main supermarket was indirectly related to their dietary behaviours through psychological resources and perceived food affordability. Shopping at supermarkets classified as having a healthier in-store environment was associated with having greater psychological resources associated with healthy eating (standardised regression weight β=0.14SD, p=0.03) and fewer food affordability concerns (β=-0.14SD, p=0.01), which in turn related to healthier dietary behaviours (β=0.55SD, <0.001 and β=-0.15, p=0.01 respectively). The three food environment factors were not directly associated with dietary behaviour (p>0.3). The overall model fit was good (CFI=0.91, RMSEA=0.05 [0.05, 0.06]).Conclusions: this pathway analysis identified three focal points for intervention and suggests that high-agency interventions targeting individual psychological resources when combined with low-agency supermarket environment interventions may confer greater benefits on dietary behaviours than either intervention alone.
1-17
Vogel, Christina
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Abbott, Gavin
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Ntani, Georgia
9b009e0a-5ab2-4c6e-a9fd-15a601e92be5
Barker, Mary
374310ad-d308-44af-b6da-515bf5d2d6d2
Cooper, Cyrus
e05f5612-b493-4273-9b71-9e0ce32bdad6
Moon, Graham
68cffc4d-72c1-41e9-b1fa-1570c5f3a0b4
Ball, Kylie
fda275b8-c7ae-43f2-ab38-d1b487cbe671
Baird, Janis
f4bf2039-6118-436f-ab69-df8b4d17f824
Vogel, Christina
768f1dcd-2697-4aae-95cc-ee2f6d63dff5
Abbott, Gavin
3864bcfa-64b4-4121-8065-3f819b342841
Ntani, Georgia
9b009e0a-5ab2-4c6e-a9fd-15a601e92be5
Barker, Mary
374310ad-d308-44af-b6da-515bf5d2d6d2
Cooper, Cyrus
e05f5612-b493-4273-9b71-9e0ce32bdad6
Moon, Graham
68cffc4d-72c1-41e9-b1fa-1570c5f3a0b4
Ball, Kylie
fda275b8-c7ae-43f2-ab38-d1b487cbe671
Baird, Janis
f4bf2039-6118-436f-ab69-df8b4d17f824

Vogel, Christina, Abbott, Gavin, Ntani, Georgia, Barker, Mary, Cooper, Cyrus, Moon, Graham, Ball, Kylie and Baird, Janis (2019) Examination of how food environment and psychological factors interact in their relationship with dietary behaviours: test of a cross-sectional model. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 16 (12), 1-17. (doi:10.1186/s12966-019-0772-y).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Background: to improve population diet environmental strategies have been hailed the panacea because they require little agency or investment of personal resources; this contrasts with conventional strategies that rely on individuals to engage high levels of agency and make deliberate choices. There is an immediate need to improve understanding of the synergy between the psychological and environmental determinants of diet in order to optimise allocation of precious public health resources. This study examined the synergistic and relative association between a number of food environment and psychological factors and the dietary behaviours of a population sample of women with young children.Methods : women in Hampshire were recruited from children’s centres and asked about their demographic characteristics, psychological resources, dietary behaviours (food frequency questionnaire) and perceptions of healthy food access and affordability. Three local food environment factors were objectively assessed: i) spatial access to food outlets using activity spaces; ii) healthfulness of the supermarket where women did their main food shop, (based on nine in-store factors including price, placement and promotion on seven healthy and less healthy foods); iii) nutrition environment of children’s centres visited frequently by the women, assessed via staff-administered questionnaire. A theoretical model linking environmental factors to dietary behaviours, both directly and indirectly through three factors representing individual agency (psychological resources, perceived food affordability, perceived food accessibility), was tested using Structural Equation Modelling.Results: complete data were available for 753 women. The environment of women’s main supermarket was indirectly related to their dietary behaviours through psychological resources and perceived food affordability. Shopping at supermarkets classified as having a healthier in-store environment was associated with having greater psychological resources associated with healthy eating (standardised regression weight β=0.14SD, p=0.03) and fewer food affordability concerns (β=-0.14SD, p=0.01), which in turn related to healthier dietary behaviours (β=0.55SD, <0.001 and β=-0.15, p=0.01 respectively). The three food environment factors were not directly associated with dietary behaviour (p>0.3). The overall model fit was good (CFI=0.91, RMSEA=0.05 [0.05, 0.06]).Conclusions: this pathway analysis identified three focal points for intervention and suggests that high-agency interventions targeting individual psychological resources when combined with low-agency supermarket environment interventions may confer greater benefits on dietary behaviours than either intervention alone.

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Accepted/In Press date: 15 January 2019
e-pub ahead of print date: 30 January 2019

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 427635
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/427635
PURE UUID: 753c6a78-bebd-48e9-baff-db37fd655706
ORCID for Mary Barker: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-2976-0217
ORCID for Cyrus Cooper: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-3510-0709
ORCID for Graham Moon: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-7256-8397
ORCID for Janis Baird: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-4039-4361

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Date deposited: 24 Jan 2019 17:30
Last modified: 17 Dec 2019 01:59

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