The role of action control and action planning on fruit and vegetable consumption
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Globally, fruit and vegetable intake is lower than recommended despite being an important component to a healthy diet. Adopting or maintaining a sufficient amount of fruit and vegetables in one's diet may require not only motivation but also self-regulatory processes. Action control and action planning are two key volitional determinants that have been identified in the literature; however, it is not fully understood how these two factors operate between intention and behavior. Thus, the aim of the current study was to explore the roles of action control and action planning as mediators between intentions and dietary behavior. A longitudinal study with three points in time was conducted. Participants (N = 286) were undergraduate students and invited to participate in a health behavior survey. At baseline (Time 1), measures of intention and fruit and vegetable intake were assessed. Two weeks later (Time 2), action control and action planning were assessed as putative sequential mediators. At Time 3 (two weeks after Time 2), fruit and vegetable consumption was measured as the outcome. The results revealed action control and action planning to sequentially mediate between intention and subsequent fruit and vegetable intake, controlling for baseline behavior. Both self-regulatory constructs, action control and action planning, make a difference when moving from motivation to action. Our preliminary evidence, therefore, suggests that planning may be more proximal to fruit and vegetable intake than action control. Further research, however, needs to be undertaken to substantiate this conclusion.
Food Nutritional Balance