Practical opportunities for healthy diet and physical activity: Relationship to intentions, behaviors, and body mass index

The RRNeT Investigators

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Purpose Current strategies for improving diet and activity patterns focus on encouraging patients to make better choices, but they meet with limited success. Because the choices people make depend on the choices they have, we examined how practical opportunities for diet and physical activity shape behavioral intentions and achieved behaviors. Methods Participants included 746 adults who visited 8 large primary care practices in the Residency Research Network of Texas in 2012. We used structural equation models to confirm factor structures for a previously validated measure of practical opportunities, and then modeled achieved diet (Starting the Conversation – Diet questionnaire), physical activity (International Physical Activity Questionnaire), and BMI as a function of opportunities (classified as either resources or conversion factors that influence use of resources), behavioral intentions, and demographic covariates. Results In path models, resources (P <.001) and conversion factors (P = .005) predicted behavioral intentions for activity. Conversion factors (P <.001), but not resources, predicted diet intentions. Both activity resources (P = .01) and conversion factors (P <.001) were positively associated with weekly activity minutes. Diet conversion factors (P <.001), but not diet resources (P = .08), were positively associated with diet quality. The same patterns were observed for body mass index (BMI). Socioeconomic gradients in resources and conversion factors were evident. Conclusions Individuals’ feasible opportunities for healthy diet and activity have clinically meaningful associations with intentions, achieved behaviors, and BMI. Assessing opportunities as part of health behavior management could lead to more effective, efficient, and compassionate interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)109-116
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of family medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016


  • Capability approach
  • Diet
  • Physical activity
  • Socioeconomic factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice


Dive into the research topics of 'Practical opportunities for healthy diet and physical activity: Relationship to intentions, behaviors, and body mass index'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this