Healthy food intentions fail to lead to healthy consumption at an Australian festival

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Abstract

Aim:

To investigate healthy food purchasing intentions and behaviours among patrons attending a large festival and any associations with healthy eating attitudes, social norms or perceived behavioural control.

Methods:

Food consumption intention and behaviour were measured via pre (upon entry)-post (prior to exit) surveys among West Australian adults at the Perth Royal Show (n = 100; 66 female and 34 male). Attitude, social norm and perceived control were measured via 5-point Likert scales. McNemar chi-squared tests were conducted on the pre-post measures, an ANOVA was conducted for continuous variables, and a path analysis with bootstrapping was performed to examine the relationships from healthy eating attitudes, social norms and perceived control to intentions and behaviours.

Results:

Upon entry, 71% intended to purchase food; however, significantly more participants (84%, P < 0.05) actually bought food. Of those who intended to buy food, 82% anticipated buying unhealthy food and 44% healthy food. On exiting, significantly more patrons purchased unhealthy foods (97%, P < 0.01) and significantly fewer bought healthy foods (22%, P < 0.01). There were no significant associations between intentions, behaviours, healthy eating attitudes, social norms or perceived control.

Conclusions:

Overall, most patrons intended and actually purchased unhealthy foods. However, among patrons who did not intend to purchase food, or planned to buy healthy food, they too bought mostly unhealthy foods. Additional efforts to promote and provide healthy choices are required.

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