Factors perceived to influence dietary fat reduction behaviors

Debra Palmer Keenan, Rayane AbuSabha, Madeleine Sigman-Grant, Cheryl Achterberg, Jennifer Ruffing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Dietary change is an inherently complex process. Although dietary fat reduction is an important issue in nutrition education, factors facilitating this type of change have not been fully examined. By accumulating information from individuals who have already been successful in initiating and maintaining dietary fat reduction, practical means of assisting others can be learned. This study collected information from 155 participants between the ages of 30 and 55. Participants were included if they reported the initiation of sustained dietary fat reduction strategies beginning at least 5 years prior to recruitment. Data used to examine individual patterns of dietary fat reduction were collected via in-depth, semistructured, retrospective interviews. Qualitative analyses identified 134 factors that played a role in facilitating the adoption of multiple fat reduction strategies. The factors identified were further classified into two categories: unplanned and planned. Unplanned factors were defined as life events or occurrences that are not nor should they be intentionally included in one's life as a means of dietary improvement (e.g., market influence, health issues, disease diagnosis). Planned factors were defined as occurrences often intentionally included in one's life to facilitate dietary change (e.g., going on a weight loss diet, acquiring an appliance, making a resolution). They frequently resulted from mediation by an unplanned factor. These factors can be used to help nutrition educators identify specific times conducive to initiating dietary change, as well as techniques for facilitating dietary fat reduction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)134-144
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Nutrition Education and Behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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