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The relationship between community nutritionists’ use of policy, systems and environmental strategies to prevent obesity and its determinants depends on networking

  • Angela H Lu (a1), Katherine L Dickin (a1), Mark A Constas (a2) and Jamie S Dollahite (a1)
Abstract
Objective

To apply the Theory of Planned Behaviour to examine the relationship between the constructs of background factors and beliefs towards using policy, systems and environmental (PSE) strategies and reported use of PSE strategies to prevent obesity by a group of professional nutrition educators.

Design

Cross-sectional study using self-reported survey.

Setting

Cooperative Extension in New York, USA.

Subjects

Nutrition educators (n 58); survey response rate 100 %.

Results

Nutrition educators’ reported use of PSE strategies to prevent obesity were positively associated with background factors of their community networking and number of staff they managed, their belief of other people’s expectations of them to make PSE changes and the belief that their communities were ready to use PSE strategies; and negatively associated with their belief that individual-level factors contributed to obesity. The relationships among these variables were complicated and their use of PSE strategies occurred only when they utilized their professional networks at a moderately high level (above mean of 5·3 on a scale of 1–7), given that their community was also ready to use PSE strategies.

Conclusions

Nutrition educators’ use of PSE strategies depends on several internal and external factors. Community networking needs to be emphasized as one of the most significant factors contributing to nutrition educators’ work in this area. Organizational and community support should be in place in order to facilitate nutrition educators’ effective use of PSE strategies.

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Corresponding author
* Corresponding author: Email jsd13@cornell.edu
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Public Health Nutrition
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