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Intelligence and self-control in relation to eating pattern, physical activity and bodyweight in adolescents

By M.H.J. van Kampen

Abstract

Research shows that intelligence is related to health. The exact reason for this relation is still unclear. A possibility is that self-control is related to intelligence and explains the relation between intelligence and health. This study investigated whether intelligence is related to healthy eating pattern, physical activity and appropriate bodyweight. Also the relation between self-control and the different kinds of health behaviour is investigated. Moreover, it is investigated whether self-control can explain the relation between intelligence and health. In total 201 high-school students aged between 15 and 20 participated in the study. They were asked to do three cognitive tests and completed a self-control questionnaire and health questionnaire. The cognitive tests measured reaction time, memory span and fluid intelligence. The health questionnaire contained questions about eating pattern and physical activity. The results show that intelligence is positively related to healthy eating pattern and physical activity, but not related to bodyweight. Adolescents with a higher score on the intelligence test eat more healthy and less unhealthy foods and engage more in physical activity than less intelligent adolescents. Self-control is also positively related to healthy eating pattern, physical activity and healthy bodyweight. Self-control is not related to intelligence and therefore can not explain the relation between intelligence and health. Results can contribute to develop more effective dietary behaviour change interventions in adolescents

Topics: Sociale Wetenschappen, Intelligence, self-control, health behaviour, physical activity, bodyweight, adolescents
Year: 2009
OAI identifier: oai:dspace.library.uu.nl:1874/33723
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