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The impact of a rural or urban context in eating awareness and self-regulation strategies in children and adolescents from eight European countries

Authors

  • Tania Gaspar,

    Corresponding author
    1. CMDT/Institute of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, New University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal
    2. Faculty of Human Kinetics, University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal
    3. Psychology and Education Sciences Institute, Lusiada University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal
    • Correspondence should be addressed to Tania Gaspar, Lusiada University of Lisbon, Rua da Junqueira, n188-198, Lisbon 1349-001, Portugal. (E-mail: tania.gaspar.barra@gmail.com).

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  • Margarida Gaspar de Matos,

    1. CMDT/Institute of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, New University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal
    2. Faculty of Human Kinetics, University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal
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  • Aleksandra Luszczynska,

    1. CARE-BEH Center for Applied Research on Health Behavior and Health, University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Warsaw, Poland
    2. Trauma, Health and Hazards Center, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, CO, USA
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  • Adriana Baban,

    1. Department of Psychology, Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj, Romania
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  • John Wit

    1. Centre for Social Research in Health, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
    2. Social Psychology Group, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands
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Abstract

Complex relationships exist between eating behaviour and personal and environmental factors. Rural and urban geographic contexts seem to play a role in eating behaviour, and therefore deserve a deeper study. A healthy eating behaviour and the conditions that promote it are a major issue in the promotion of adolescent health. The study aims to investigate the associations between the area of residence (urban vs. rural), self-regulation strategies (TESQ-E) and eating behaviours among children and adolescents. A total of 11,820 adolescents (50.6% girls) participated in the study, with a mean age of 13.30 years (SD= 2.13). Nine countries (The Netherlands, United Kingdom, Poland, Portugal, Denmark, Romania, Germany, Finland and Belgium) completed a questionnaire in the school context, asking about the use of self-regulation strategies, eating behaviour awareness/care and sociodemographic questions such as age, gender and residential area. Both areas of residence (urban vs. rural) are associated with eating awareness/care in Romania and Portugal, controlling for age, gender and self-regulation strategies. In some European countries at least, and most probably around the world, health promotion should focus on an ecological approach that includes the understanding of the effect of both environmental factors and personal skills on eating behaviour/awareness.

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