Breakfast skipping increases during adolescence and is associated with lower levels of physical activity and weight gain. Theory-based interventions promoting breakfast consumption in adolescents report mixed findings, potentially because of limited research identifying which determinants to target. This study aimed to: (i) utilise the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) to identify the relative contribution of attitudes (affective, cognitive and behavioural) to predict intention to eat breakfast and breakfast consumption in adolescents and (ii) determine whether demographic factors moderate the relationship between TPB variables, intention and behaviour.
Questionnaires were completed by 434 students (mean 14±0.9 years) measuring breakfast consumption (0–2, 3–6 or 7 days), physical activity levels and TPB measures. Data were analysed by breakfast frequency and demographics using hierarchical and multinomial regression analyses.
Breakfast was consumed everyday by 57% of students, with boys more likely to eat a regular breakfast, report higher activity levels and report more positive attitudes towards breakfast than girls (P<0.001). The TPB predicted 58% of the variation in intentions. Overall, the model was predictive of breakfast behaviours (P<0.001), but the relative contribution of TPB constructs varied depending on breakfast frequency. Interactions between gender and intentions were significant when comparing 0–2- and 3–6-day breakfast eaters only highlighting a stronger intention–behaviour relationship for girls.
Findings confirm that the TPB is a successful model for predicting breakfast intentions and behaviours in adolescents. The potential for a direct effect of attitudes on behaviours should be considered in the implementation and design of breakfast interventions.
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We thank all the schools who supported the study and the students for taking part in the study.
SK was funded by a Nigel Groome PhD research studentship from Oxford Brookes University. The remaining authors declare no conflict of interest.
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Kennedy, S., Davies, E., Ryan, L. et al. Applying an extended theory of planned behaviour to predict breakfast consumption in adolescents. Eur J Clin Nutr 71, 607–613 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1038/ejcn.2016.192