J Nutr Health.  2019 Jun;52(3):285-296. 10.4163/jnh.2019.52.3.285.

Factors affecting preference of vegetable in elementary school students: based on social cognitive theory

  • 1Department of Food Science and Nutrition, Pusan National University, Busan 46241, Korea. hokryu@pusan.ac.kr


This study was conducted to identify the factors affecting vegetable preferences of children based on the social cognitive theory to reduce imbalances in vegetable consumption.
The survey investigated 177 elementary school students in Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do, in June of 2018. The subjects consisted of 44 fifth graders (27.7%) and 128 (72.3%) sixth graders.
Among personal factors of the Social Cognitive Theory, positive outcome expectation and self-efficacy of the vegetable preference group were significantly higher than those of the non-preference group. Negative barrier scores of the non-preference group were significantly higher than those of the preference group, and the biggest barrier was that vegetables were tasteless. Among behavioral factors, the nutritional knowledge of vegetables was high, but the degree of practice was low. Practice score of the vegetable preference group was significantly higher than that of the non-preference group. Among environmental factors, the vegetable preference group was more likely to accept advice from people around them than the non-preference group and the most influential people were doctors and parents. In the vegetable intake environment, children in the vegetable preference group had high accessibility to vegetables. Correlation analysis and regression analysis of the social cognitive factors and vegetable preferences revealed all factors except nutritional knowledge showed significant correlation with vegetable preference. And surrounding people (p < 0.01), practice (p < 0.01), and self-efficacy (p < 0.05) had positive effects on vegetable preference.
These results suggest that providing the health benefits from eating vegetables and educating children for improving their self-confidence are necessary for increasing the preference for vegetables and their intake by children.


social cognitive theory; vegetable preference; elementary school student
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