The relationship of weight-related perceptions, goals, and behaviors with fruit and vegetable consumption in young adolescents

Alana A. Nystrom, Kathryn H. Schmitz, Cheryl L. Perry, Leslie A. Lytle, Dianne Neumark-Sztainer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Background. The effect of dieting and weight-control perceptions, goals, and behaviors on food intake, including fruit and vegetable (F&V) consumption, is not completely understood. We examined these associations in 1,755 young adolescents. Methods. Data from the Teens Eating for Energy and Nutrition at School (TEENS) study were analyzed separately by gender using mixed linear modeling. Surveys completed at the beginning and end of 7th grade asked students to self-report fruit and vegetable consumption, weight-related perceptions, goals, and behaviors, and demographic variables. Results. Underweight boys reported 0.8 fewer F&V servings per day than boys who reported their weight to be 'about right' (P = 0.002), while overweight girls reported 0.7 fewer F&V than girls who reported their weight to be 'about right' (P = 0.005). Boys with weight-related goals consumed significantly more F&V than did boys not wanting to do anything about their weight (P < 0.05). Girls engaging in weight-related behaviors reported 0.7 more F&V than girls who did not engage in weight-related behaviors (P = 0.006). Conclusions. Because F&V intake is low among all adolescents, population interventions should take place to increase F&V intake. These data support the inclusion of gender-specific intervention components related to weight-related perceptions, goals, and behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)203-208
Number of pages6
JournalPreventive medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2005

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The Teens Eating for Energy and Nutrition at School (TEENS) study was a school-based community trial funded by the National Cancer Institute with the goal of reducing cancer-related dietary risk behaviors among young adolescents [14] . It was designed to be implemented with a lower income population, and only school districts where a minimum of 20% of students were approved for free or reduced-price meals were eligible. Schools participating in the study also had to have seventh and eighth graders in the same building and enroll at least 30 students per grade. Sixteen schools in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis–St. Paul) metropolitan area were included in the TEENS study and group-randomized within matched pairs based on their enrollment and participation in the free and reduced-lunch program. Eight schools were assigned to an intervention condition including school-based environmental, classroom, and family interventions to increase fruit and vegetable intake and decrease fat intake in seventh and eighth graders. The remaining eight schools were assigned to a comparison (delayed intervention) condition. A self-administered, baseline survey was given to seventh grade students at all 16 schools in the fall of 1998. Parents received passive consent forms 2 weeks in advance and the students gave written assent at the time the survey was administered. The University of Minnesota Committee on the Use of Human Subjects in Research approved the consent and survey procedures in advance. Of the 4,050 seventh graders eligible for the survey, 3,878 (95.8%) completed the survey, 95 (2.4%) were missed due to absence from school on both survey attempts, and 77 (1.9%) were excluded due to guardian or student refusal. In the spring of 1999, 3,503 (90.7%) students from the original cohort were given the survey again as an interim measurement for the TEENS project. For this research, we only included data from the control schools at baseline and interim (N = 1,755) because we did not want our results to be influenced by any effects that might have resulted from the intervention.

Copyright 2008 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Adolescence
  • Diet
  • Dieting
  • Fruit
  • Nutrition
  • Vegetables
  • Weight loss


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