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The question of what motivates individuals to assume healthy eating habits remains unanswered. The purpose of this descriptive survey is to explore health-related feared possible selves in relation to dietary beliefs and behavior in adults. A convenience sample of 74 middle-aged employees of a health maintenance organization completed self-administered questionnaires. Health-related feared selves, current health perception, knowledge of diet-health association, dietary self-efficacy, dietary intention and intake were measured. Health-related fears were the most frequently reported feared selves, but very few of those represented illnesses and none were related to dietary intake. The number of health and body weight related fears was significantly associated with lower dietary self-efficacy and weaker intention to eat in a healthy manner. Multivariate analysis showed self-efficacy to be the only significant predictor of dietary intention. These adults may not have perceived being at risk for diet-associated illnesses, and so their feared selves did not motivate them to eat in a healthy manner. Research on the effect of hoped for health related possible selves and the perceived effectiveness of diet in reducing health risk are recommended.
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