Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science in Nutrition and Food Systems (MSNFS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Agriculture, Food and Environment


Dietetics and Human Nutrition

First Advisor

Dr. Alison Gustafson


Determining the level of belief one has in themselves, or their self-efficacy, can be a key factor to improve certain dietary patterns and choices in the rural youth population. Sugar sweetened food and beverage consumption continues to rise and fruit and vegetable intake remains a struggle in rural areas; addressing both the food environment and adolescents’ self-efficacy could have a lasting impact on changing the nature of a generation of rural student’s food and beverage choices. This study measured self-efficacy levels of (n=425) adolescents in rural Kentucky and North Carolina using the Youth Impact Questionnaire and dietary intake using the NHANES Dietary Screener. Multiple linear regression analysis found that higher levels of self-efficacy resulted in a statistically significant ability to consume more vegetables. Further associations found that higher levels of self-efficacy resulted in increased fruit consumption, and improved added sugar food and beverage selections. These findings suggest that it could be beneficial to target adolescents’ self-efficacy as a way to modify certain health behaviors in a sparse food environment such as these rural Appalachian areas.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)