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Applications of the fourth-generation multi-theory model (MTM) of health behavior change toobesogenic behaviors in college students


Obesity is a public health crisis that has reached pandemic proportions. It has multifactorial etiology and multiple negative physical and psychological consequences. Controlling the problem by altering obesogenic behaviors among college students is especially important because there is growing prevalence in this subgroup, there are long term effects for this subgroup, they are in formative years for obesogenic behaviors, and these behaviors are widely prevalent in this subgroup. The multi-theory model (MTM) of health behavior change is a new fourth-generation behavioral theory that has been applied to study obesogenic behaviors among college students. The purpose of this review was to examine the robustness and utility of MTM in designing efficacious and effective interventions to address obesogenic behaviors among US college students. A total of five studies published in MEDLINE, CINAHL, or ERIC met the inclusion criteria.The mean adjusted R2 for the initiation model based on the five studies was 0.38 (s.d. 0.15) and the mean adjusted R2 for the sustenance model was 0.34 (s.d. 0.14). The construct of behavioral confidence in the initiation model and the construct of emotional transformation in the sustenance model were significant in all five studies. MTM offers a feasible and practical framework for designing health promotion interventions for college students to address obesogenic behaviors.


obesogenic behaviors, heart disease, hypertension, adulthood