Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



Major Professor

Sarah Colby

Committee Members

Marsha Spence, Katie Kavanagh


Background: Adolescents, specifically females, are at risk of body dissatisfaction. Body dissatisfaction can be a predictor of females having intentions to lose weight. Diet quality is often poor among adolescents; however, there is little research about how diet quality is related to weight and intent to lose weight. Purpose: This study assessed the associations between diet quality, measured using the short Healthy Eating Index (sHEI), weight, and intentions to lose weight among adolescent females in one county in the Southeastern United States. Methods: Secondary data collected originally for the Get Fruved high school intervention were used for analyses. Female participants, ages 13 to 19 years (n=242), were included in the sample. Linear regressions were used to assess the associations between BMI, intentions to lose weight and diet quality while controlling for age, and race. Post-regression confirmatory chi-square tests further assessed associations between intentions to lose weight and fruit, vegetables, dairy, added sugar, and saturated fat. Results: No associations were found between intentions to lose weight and female respondents’ diet quality. When stratified by BMI category, there were no significant differences between intentions to lose weight and fruit, vegetable, dairy, saturated fat, and added sugar intake among healthy weight females. However, overweight and obese females who had intentions to lose weight consumed more saturated fat compared to those in the overweight/obese category who did not have intentions to lose weight (p=0.002). Conclusions: Due to the number of statistical tests used to analyze the data, the relationship detected between saturated fat intake and weight status and intention to lose weight should be viewed with caution. The lack of associations found between diet quality, weight and intention to lose weight may indicate that it is possible that adolescents are not changing their diet despite having intentions to change their weight. Adolescents may be engaging in other weight control behaviors other than diet, such as increasing physical activity, or intentions to lose weight may not result in any behavior changes.

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