Evaluation of a Theory-Based Intervention Aimed at Reducing Intention to Use Restrictive Dietary Behaviors Among Adolescent Female Athletes

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Abstract

Objective:

To evaluate the effectiveness of a theory-based intervention to reduce the intention to use restrictive dietary behaviors for losing weight among adolescent female athletes involved in aesthetic sports.

Design:

Cluster-randomized controlled trial.

Setting:

Aesthetic sport teams of adolescent female athletes aged 12–17 years.

Participants:

Two teams (n = 37 athletes) in the intervention group and 3 teams (n = 33) in the comparison group.

Interventions:

The 2 groups received nutrition education during 3 weekly 60-minute sessions. The intervention group was further exposed to a theory-based intervention targeting the specific determinant of intention to use restrictive dietary behaviors for losing weight, namely attitude.

Main Outcome Measures:

Difference over time between groups in intention to use restrictive dietary behaviors for losing weight and in nutrition knowledge.

Analysis:

Mixed models for repeated measures.

Results:

The theory-based intervention contributed to maintaining a low intention of using restrictive dietary behaviors for losing weight over time in the intervention group compared with the comparison group (P < .03). Nutrition knowledge score increased equally in both groups.

Conclusion and Implications:

Complementing nutrition education with theory-based behavior change intervention may help maintain a low intention of using restrictive dietary behaviors for losing weight among female high school athletes involved in aesthetic sports.

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