The literature on potential determinants of dietary behavior among youth is extensive and unwieldy. We conducted an umbrella review (or a 'review-of-reviews') to present a comprehensive overview of the current scientific knowledge. This review of reviews was just published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition & Physical Activity.
We included systematic reviews identified in four scientific literature databases (i.e. PubMed, PsycINFO, The Cochrane Library and Web of Science) that summarized determinants of observable child and adolescent dietary behaviors. Data extraction included a judgment of the importance of determinants, strength of evidence and evaluation of the methodological quality of the eligible reviews.
In total, 17 reviews were considered. Whereas social-cognitive determinants were addressed most frequently towards the end of the 20th century, environmental determinants (in particular social and physical environmental factors) have been studied most extensively during the past decade, thereby representing a paradigm shift.With regard to environmental determinants, mixed findings were reported. Sedentary behavior and intention were found to be significant determinants of a wide range of dietary behaviors in most reviews, but these results were based on cross-sectional studies only. Other potential determinants such as automaticity, self-regulation and subjective norm have been studied in relatively few studies, but results suggest that these factors are important.