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Why do boys eat less fruit and vegetables than girls?

  • Elling Bere (a1) (a2), Johannes Brug (a3) and Knut-Inge Klepp (a1)
Abstract
AbstractObjective

To explore why boys eat less fruit and vegetables (F&V) than girls, using longitudinal data following pupils from the age of 12.5 to 15.5 years, including perceived accessibility, modelling, intention, preferences, self-efficacy and knowledge of recommendations as potential mediators.

Design/setting/subjects

A longitudinal study, based on data collected among the control schools within the intervention project ‘Fruits and Vegetables Make the Marks’. This sample contains 896 6th and 7th graders from 20 randomly selected elementary schools within two Norwegian counties. Questionnaires were administered in May 2002 and May 2005 (when the participants were in 9th and 10th grade in 18 secondary elementary schools).

Results

In single mediation analyses all determinants mediated parts of the gender difference, but only preferences decreased the gender difference to a level below statistical significance. Preferences alone explained 81% of the gender difference. In the multiple mediation analyses, the six mediators together explained 91% of the gender difference, but only preferences and perceived accessibility contributed uniquely to the explanation, with 25% and 10% respectively.

Conclusions

Preference appears as the strongest mediator of the difference in F&V intakes between boys and girls. Further research should explore why girls like F&V more than boys.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
Corresponding author: Email ellingb@medisin.vio.no
Linked references
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This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

1M Rasmussen , R Krølner , K-I Klepp , L Lytle , J Brug , E Bere , . Determinants of fruit and vegetable consumption among children and adolescents: a review of the literature. Part I: quantitative studies. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 2006; 3: 22.

2AH Baker , J Wardle . Sex differences in fruit and vegetable intake in older adults. Appetite 2003; 40: 269275.

3J Wardle , AM Haase , A Steptoe , M Nillapun , K Jonwutiwes , F Bellisle . Gender differences in food choice: the contribution of health beliefs and dieting. Annals of Behavioral Medicine 2004; 27: 107116.

5E Bere , K-I Klepp . Changes in accessibility and preferences predict children’s future fruit and vegetable intake. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 2005; 2: 15.

6LF Andersen , E Bere , N Kolbjørnsen , K-I Klepp . Validity and reproducibility of self-reported intake of fruit and vegetable among 6th graders. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2004; 58: 771777.

8RM Baron , DA Kenny . The moderator–mediator variable distinction in social psychological research: conceptual, strategic, and statistical considerations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 1986; 51: 11731182.

11J Wardle , S Sanderson , GE Leigh , L Rapoport . Factor-analytic structure of food preferences in four-year-old children in the UK. Appetite 2001; 37: 217223.

12H Kaplan , K Hill , J Lancaster , AM Hurtado . A theory of human life history evolution: diet, intelligence, and longevity. Evolutionary Anthropology 2000; 9: 156185.

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Public Health Nutrition
  • ISSN: 1368-9800
  • EISSN: 1475-2727
  • URL: /core/journals/public-health-nutrition
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