Date of Award

8-1-2011

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Agribusiness Economics

First Advisor

Moon, Wanki

Abstract

This thesis will attempt to combine theories from previous works in order to better understand dietary health behaviors of consumers. More specifically, regression analysis will be implemented to isolate the effects of dietary health motivation, dietary health knowledge and socio-demographic variables on dietary health behavior. The driving theory behind this study is that in order for an individual to consume a healthy diet he or she must be knowledgeable about the role specific nutrients play in maintaining health. However, having this knowledge will not affect positive dietary behaviors single-handedly. The individual must also be motivated to sustain an already healthy diet or to improve a poor diet. This motivation can come from a number of sources including education, societal influences, current health status, personal aspirations, health concerns and the decisions of the household food purchaser. Measuring motivation is a challenging task because it is not obviously recognizable. For the study at hand, survey responses will be used to create an index which attempts to quantify an individual's level of health motivation. The hypotheses being tested are that health knowledge and certain socio-demographic characteristics have predictable and measurable effects on behavior, some of which are mediated by dietary health motivation. In order to measure these effects, multiple regression analyses will be employed.

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