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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Title: Effects of goal setting on dietary and physical activity changes in the Boy Scout badge projects

item Latif, Hira
item Watson, Kathy
item Nguyen, Nga
item Thompson, Deborah - Debbe
item Baranowski, Janice
item Jago, Russ
item Cullen, Karen
item Baranowski, Tom

Submitted to: Health Education and Behavior
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/30/2009
Publication Date: 11/1/2011
Citation: Latif, H., Watson, K., Nguyen, N., Thompson, D.J., Baranowski, J., Jago, R., Cullen, K.W., Baranowski, T. 2011. Effects of goal setting on dietary and physical activity changes in the Boy Scout badge projects. Health Education and Behavior. 38(5):521-529.

Interpretive Summary: An important question is whether "goal setting" is an effective behavior change intervention procedure for children and adolescents. Do the children and early adolescents have the planning abilities and self control to use goal setting change their behaviors? In this study, goal setting and goal attainment were only weakly related to diet or physical activity change, suggesting goal setting is not a broadly useful intervention procedure for children this age.

Technical Abstract: This study evaluates the relationship of goal setting to low-fat vegetable (LV) and fruit/100% juice (FJ) consumption and physical activity (PA) change. A total of 473 10- to 14-year-old Boy Scouts from Houston took part in a 9-week intervention. A two-group (LV and FJ or PA) intervention design was used with each group serving as the control for the other. Internet-based activities included goal setting at home. Food frequencies measured dietary intake.Goals attained were not related to LV intake or PA. Immediate post-test FJ consumption increased about 0.7 servings as home FJ availability increased, but social desirability of response appeared to confound reports of FJ intake at post-test 6 months assessment. Goals attained were not related to LV intake or PA but was related to FJ intake, but only when home FJ availability was high and the relationship was confounded by social desirability of response. Further research is needed with higher quality measures of dietary intake to clarify these relationships.

Last Modified: 06/28/2017
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