Social cognitive theory in an after-school nutrition intervention for urban Native American youth

Kimberly Rinderknecht, Chery Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Objective: To improve dietary self-efficacy through a 7-month nutrition intervention for Native American children (5 to 10 years) and adolescents (11 to 18 years). Design: Single-group pretest, posttest design. Setting: An after-school program in a local community center for urban Native American youth. Participants: 104 urban Native American youth (65 children and 39 adolescents). Interventions: A 9-month project with pre-post evaluation and a 7-month intervention. Main Outcomes Measure(s): Dietary self-efficacy and 24-hour recalls. Analysis: Descriptive statistics were computed for comparability analysis of dietary self-efficacy and diet at baseline. For the normally distributed data, independent t tests were used for gender comparisons, whereas 1-way analysis of variance with post hoc Tukey adjustment was used to compare responses among body mass index (BMI) categories. Non-normally distributed data were analyzed with Kruskal-Wallis tests with post hoc pairwise Mann-Whitney analyses. For non-normally distributed data, the Bonferroni correction was used, and the P values were set at .025 for gender comparisons and .016 for BMI comparisons. Wilcoxon signed rank tests determined whether fat and sugar intake changed significantly between pre- and postintervention time points among adolescents. Results: Both children and adolescents exhibited moderate levels of dietary self-efficacy at baseline, with no variation by BMI. The nutrition intervention significantly improved the self-efficacy of children. Overweight children significantly improved their dietary self-efficacy.The intervention was not successful among adolescents. Conclusions and Implications: Social Cognitive Theory is an effective model from which to explore influential constructs of health behavior. This project demonstrates that a nutrition intervention provided at monthly intervals is an effective way to significantly improve dietary self-efficacy among urban Native American children. The lack of intervention effect among adolescents reiterates the need for greater comprehension of personal, environmental, and behavioral constraints, influencing dietary self-efficacy and behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)298-304
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Nutrition Education and Behavior
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2004

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project was funded by the Agricultural Experiment Station of the University of Minnesota and the United Way. Address for correspondence: Chery Smith, PHD, MPH, RD, Department of Food Science and Nutrition, University of Minnesota, 225 FScN, 1334 Eckles Ave, St. Paul, MN 55108-609Y;Tel: (612) 624-2217; Fax: (612) 625-5272; E-mail: 02nn4 SOCIETY FOR NUTRITION EDUCATION

Funding Information:
This study was funded by the Agricultural Experiment Station of the University of Minnesota and the United Way.We thank the Native American youth for participating in this study with interest and enthusiasm.We thank Julie Green, program director, and her staff for their collaboration. We also thank Amy Gray and Sara Stout for their assistance.

Copyright 2017 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Dietary self-efficacy
  • Native American youth
  • Obesity
  • Social cognitive theory

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