Understanding motivation to adhere to guidelines for alcohol intake, physical activity, and fruit and vegetable intake among U.K. university students

De Visser, Richard O, Conroy, Dominic, Davies, Emma and Cooke, Richard (2021) Understanding motivation to adhere to guidelines for alcohol intake, physical activity, and fruit and vegetable intake among U.K. university students. Health Education and Behavior. pp. 1-8. ISSN 1090-1981

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Abstract

Background: To encourage people to lead healthier lifestyles, governments in many countries publish guidelines for alcohol intake, physical activity (PA), and fruit and vegetable (FV) intake. However, there is a need for better understanding of whether people understand such guidelines, consider them useful, and adhere to them. University students are a group worthy of attention because although they are less likely than older adults to exceed U.K. weekly alcohol intake guidelines or to be inactive, they are also less likely to meet FV consumption targets. Furthermore, because behavior during youth predicts adult behavior, it is important to identify influences on healthier behavior.

Method: An online survey was completed by 559 U.K. university students. Key outcome variables were knowledge of guidelines, motivation to adhere to them, and adherence to them.

Results: A total of 72% adhered to guidelines for alcohol intake, 58% for PA, and 20% for FV intake. Students generally had poor or moderate knowledge of guidelines, perceived them as only moderately useful, and were only moderately motivated to adhere to them. Greater motivation to adhere to guidelines was not significantly related to more accurate knowledge. However, it was related to greater familiarity, and perceiving guidelines as useful and realistic, and greater conscientiousness.

Discussion: There is a need to ensure that students understand the U.K. guidelines for alcohol intake, PA, and FV intake. However, simply increasing knowledge may not lead to greater adherence to the guidelines: There is also a need to focus on improving perceptions of how useful and realistic they are.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: alcohol, diet, guidelines, motivation, physical activity
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 29 Apr 2021 16:25
Last Modified: 29 Apr 2021 16:54
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/98740

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