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Nutrition knowledge, attitudes, and self-regulation as predictors of overweight and obesity

Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners


Background and purpose: Nutrition knowledge, attitudes, and eating self-regulation are important determinants of overweight and obesity. Eating self-regulation is the link between eating intention and behavior. However, the extent to which these factors influence overweight and obesity has not been thoroughly studied. The study examined nutrition knowledge, attitudes, and eating self-regulation as predictors of overweight and obesity among adults in a community setting. 

Methods: A total of 313 adults participated in an online survey, which included the General Nutrition Knowledge Questionnaire–Revised, the Nutrition Attitudes Questionnaire, and the Self-Regulation of Eating Behavior Questionnaire. Descriptive statistics, Kendall’s tau tests, and multivariate logistic regression procedures were performed.

Conclusions: More than half of the participants were either overweight or obese (56.5%). The mean nutrition knowledge score was 74.1%, and only 28.1% correctly identified the body mass index for obesity. Positive predictors of overweight and obesity included poor eating self-regulation of giving up too easily on eating intentions (odds ratio [OR] = 3.81), male gender (OR = 2.0), and age (OR = 1.03), whereas nutrition attitudes were a negative predictor (OR = 0.74).

Implications for practice: The odds of overweight or obesity were nearly four times greater for those who gave up too easily on their eating intentions. Nurse practitioners can play a critical role in establishing healthy dietary habits to maintain weight control by promoting good eating self-regulation, despite the current obesogenic environment. After assessing patient readiness and motivation, it is important to help patients make eating self-regulation as manageable as possible to promote long-term weight management.

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