Changes in self-efficacy and perceptions of eating behavior over the course of a short, web-based intervention
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College is usually the first time that young adults become fully responsible for choosing most of their foods, and a time when both healthy eating and frequency of physical activity deteriorate. As a result, this is also a prime time for students to develop and implement healthy living patterns. Previous research has indicated that both self-efficacy and perceptions of healthy eating are important predictors of healthy eating behaviors. Moreover, web-based health studies for young adults targeting self-efficacy have resulted in healthier eating patterns at post-intervention and follow-up periods. The purposes of the current study were to help college students increase self-efficacy for healthy eating, develop accurate perceptions of healthy eating, and improve practical nutrition knowledge. College students received web-based information about easy ways to improve problematic eating behaviors—including fruit, vegetable, and grain consumption, and reduced consumption of fats. Although there were no changes in eating behavior over the course of the intervention, a repeated measures multivariate ANOVA found significant increases in participants’ self-efficacy and nutrition knowledge. Perceptions of personal healthy eating increased at post-intervention, as revealed by a repeated measures ANOVA. The results of this study indicate that a short, web-based intervention can help to improve participant variables related to healthy eating, including nutrition knowledge and healthy eating self-efficacy.