Examination of value of the future and health beliefs to explain dietary and physical activity behaviors

Academic Article


  • Background: Studies have shown a negative association between value of the future (preference for long-term vs. short-term rewards) and harmful addictive behaviors; however, research in the area of preventive behaviors is limited and has shown conflicting results. Objectives: The primary objectives were: (1) to examine the association among value of the future and diet and physical activity (PA) behaviors, and (2) to assess whether value of the future explained additional variance inbehaviors after controlling for theory-based health beliefs related to coronary heart disease (CHD). Methods: An online survey was conducted in adults (N=172) with no prior history of CHD. A delay discounting task was administered to measure value of the future. Questionnaire items were based on the Health Belief Model (HBM) and included CHD knowledge, perceived risk, perceived severity, perceived benefits of and barriers to behavior change, self-efficacy, cues to action, diet and PA behaviors and demographic variables. Results: High value of the future was associated with younger age, lower BMI, more healthful diet, and increased PA. After controlling for HBM components and demographics, value of the future did not explain any additional variance in diet or PA behaviors. Significant predictors of healthful diet included female gender (P=013), increased age (P=029), greater than high school education (P=023), greater diet-related self-efficacy (P=021), and not having received a healthcare provider recommendation to improve diet (P=018). Significant predictors of PA level included income between $20,000 and $69,999 (P=014), greater exercise-related self-efficacy (P < .001) and not having received a healthcare provider recommendation to increase levels of PA (P=015). Conclusions: Behaviors to prevent CHD may be associated with a person's outlook on the future; however, self-efficacy was a stronger predictor of behavior. These findings support recommendations for enhancement of diet-and PA-related self-efficacy and problem-solving to address myopia in terms of long-term health benefits. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Garza KB; Harris CV; Bolding MS
  • Start Page

  • 851
  • End Page

  • 862
  • Volume

  • 9
  • Issue

  • 6