Factors associated with maintenance of a healthy diet in weight reduction program participants


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Høgskolen i Oslo og Akershus

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Master i samfunnsernæring


Background and aim: Understanding why and how some people succeed in changing their weight-related behaviors, like dietary behaviors, whereas the majority does not, should be an essential research priority. Identifying predictors of successful weight loss maintenance and its corresponding behaviors are of particularly importance. Thus, the aim of this study was to investigate factors believed to be associated with successful maintenance of a healthy diet after initiation of weight reduction program participation. Materials and procedures: The study sample (n=380) was comprised of current and former participants in a weight reduction program in Norway. The response rate was 9.1 percent. The study sample answered a questionnaire containing constructs aimed at measuring their self-perceived maintenance degree of a healthy diet, as well as different motivational aspects related to their dietary behavior, including self-efficacy, social support, motivation and nutrition literacy. Exploratory and semi-confirmatory factor analyses, with subsequent reliability analysis were used to establish the variable constructs for use in further analysis. Then multivariate analysis of variance was applied to examine the possible significant differences between means of each construct for participants displaying low- and high maintenance degree of a healthy diet. Lastly, simultaneous- and sequential multiple regression analyses was used to determine which variables significantly predicted the total variance in maintenance degree of a healthy diet. Results: The participants with a high maintenance degree of a healthy diet displayed significantly higher degrees of goal attainment, autonomous motivation, formal- and informal support, maintenance self-efficacy, functional-, interactive- and critical nutrition literacy. The factors which displayed a significant prediction to the total variance in maintenance degree of a healthy diet were autonomous motivation for healthy eating, degree of goal attainment and maintenance self-efficacy. Conclusion and implications: The results obtained in this study indicate that there exist many factors which are important for the maintenance of a healthy diet and that these factors are similar to those identified as significant for successful weight loss maintenance. This may imply that weight reduction programs should put emphasis on enabling for enhancement of these factors which seems to be important for the maintenance of dietary behaviors associated with successful weight loss and weight regain prevention, as this will facilitate the optimization of weight reduction programs efficacy. In addition, the results suggest that nutrition literacy levels among participants could be of significance in relation to maintenance of a healthy diet, which justify further exploration of this phenomenon within the weight loss domain


Permanent URL (for citation purposes)

  • http://hdl.handle.net/10642/1192