The concept of ability to control personal behaviour in various environmental temptations is called self-efficacy. The high prevalence of obesity and overweight in Finland is the reason for studying the determinants of weight. The aim of the present study was to clarify the associations between body mass index and health-related self-efficacy (HSE), including food patterns, health behaviour and education.
A random sample of adults was invited to the cross-sectional FINRISK 2002 Study in six regions in Finland. Participants (n=7784) gave information on education, health behaviour, HSE and food consumption. Height and weight were measured in a health examination. The response rate was 60% for men and 71% for women. Six food patterns were identified by principal component analysis on the basis of food consumption. The scores from seven-item HSE was calculated and categorized into tertiles for the analysis. The associations of BMI with self-efficacy and exploratory variables were tested using general linear modelling in total population and by gender.
A weak HSE was associated with a higher BMI after adjusting for age, education, food patterns and health behaviour. In addition, low education, infrequent PA and non-smoking were associated with the higher BMI, but the association of HSE and BMI remained in multivariate model. The associations of food patterns and BMI were small. The adverse association with BMI was observed for patterns with sweet and butter.
The study supports the importance of self-control in weight management, which needs to be considered as an empowerment tool in health education.