Weight Control And Healthy Eating In Singapore Literature Review
WEIGHT CONTROL & HEALTHY EATING 1
Chang Yi Ping Hilda U071902L
Lim Xiu Yan Jacqueline U072097W
Md Khairul Azmi B Suhaimi U071772M
Tan Soo Huay U072688Y
Teo Qi Ling U072726X
Table of Contents
1. INTRODUCTION 3
2. LITERATURE REVIEW 4
3. METHOD & RESEARCH DESIGN 7
3.1 JUSTIFICATION OF RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHOD SELECTION
3.4 DATA COLLECTION PROCESS
4. RESULTS / ANALYSIS 10
5. DISCUSSION 13
6. REFLECTIONS 15
7. BIBLIOGRAPHY 16
1. Introduction: Define the problem
Extensive research has suggested that obesity may not be the only cause of
experiencing negative psychological effects of weight status (Spitzack, 1987).
People of normal weight or self classified overweight experienced body
dissatisfaction may equally perceive prejudicial treatment (Annis, Cash, & Hrabosky,
2004; Cash & Hicks, 1990) and want to lose weight (Navia et al., 2003). Hence,
weight consciousness, which leads to weight control, is becoming a prevalent trend.
Weight control is the act of trying to lose or maintain weight (Serdula et al.,
This phenomenon is especially true for women, as many are generally more
concerned than men over their body weight and are also more inclined to control
their weight. (Serdula et al., 1993)
Changes in diet and physical activity are the most prevalent methods of weight
control. Changing diets include consuming fewer calories and fat (Serdula et al.,
1999). These are the components that constitute healthy eating according to HPB.
Healthy eating is selecting a balanced diet that is high in dietary fibre and low in fat,
cholesterol, sugar and salt. It also means having different types of food in the right
amounts and not over-eating any one type (HPB, 2007).
Previous researchers have found that people are eating healthily to control their
weight but these studies are western-centric. This paper thus aims to find out if the
relationship between healthy eating and weight control can be generalized to the
2. Literature Review
More females than men have the desire to be thinner in Singapore. While only 28%
of Singaporean men want to be thinner, more than half (53%) of Singaporean
women want to be thinner (Wang et al., 1999). Weight control has also been
identified as a major motivation behind females selecting food carefully (Steptoe,
Pollard & Wardle, 1995).
Therefore discovering whether there is an intention for female undergraduates in
National University of Singapore (NUS) to control their weight may present an
opportunity for Health Promotion Board (HPB) to reinforce the healthy eating lifestyle
(refer to SWOT analysis of HPB). This paper thus seeks to find out if female
undergraduates are controlling their weight and what are the methods employed.
The first research question is hence derived.
RQ1: Are female undergraduates in NUS controlling their weight? If so, how
controlling their weight? Are they satisfied with their methods of weight
The theory of planned behavior suggests that behaviour is mainly predicted by
intention, which constitutes three main factors. “As a general rule, the stronger the
intention to engage in behaviour, the more likely should be its performance.”
(Verbeck & Vackier, 2004)
Behavioural intention is determined by behavioural attitudes, subjective norms and
perceived behavioural control (Rah, Hasler, Painter & Chapman-Novak, 2004).
Behavioural attitude is defined as a positive or negative evaluation of performing
behaviour of interest. Subjective norm is social pressure implied by important
referent individuals’ or groups’ approval or disapproval of engaging in a given
behavior. Perceived behavioural control (PBC) is defined as the perceived
ease or difficulty of performing a behaviour (Pawlack, Malinauskas & Riveria, 2009).
However, Armitage and Conner (1999) have separated self-efficacy with PCB. This
is because selfefficacy is defined as confidence in one’s own ability to carry out a
behaviour, and relates to internal resources such as motivation. PCB on the other
hand measures external factors, such as availability. For this study, self-efficacy is
chosen over PCB, as recommended by Armitage and Conner (1999). Thus, the
theory of planned behavior is modified and implemented to understand
weight control intention and behaviour among female undergraduates in NUS. (Refer
to Appendix C for modified theory) This leads to the second research question.
RQ2: How does the Theory of Planned Behaviour help us understand weight
among female undergraduates?
Three hypotheses were formulated to find out if a correlation exists between these
variables in the modified theory.
H1: There is a positive relationship between attitude towards weight control
and intention to
H2: There is a positive relationship between subjective norms and intention to
H3: There is a positive relationship between perceived self-efficacy and
intention to control
Furthermore, researchers have found a link between weight control and the adopting
of healthy dietary habits like increasing intake of fruits and vegetables (Lowry et al.,
2000; Georgiou et al.,1997), especially in women (Wardle et al., 2004).
A review of young people’s views on healthy eating revealed that their attitudes
towards healthy eating were generally positive and concerns over weight was
motivation for choosing healthier food. This suggests that young people who
are practicing weight control have a more positive attitude towards healthy eating
(Shepherd et al., 2005).
Therefore, the third aim of this paper is to find out the relationship of weight control
intentions and healthy eating frequency among female undergraduate students in
RQ3: What is the relationship between healthy eating and weight control
The research question is further broken down into two hypotheses.
H4: There is a positive relationship between intention to control weight and the
towards healthy eating.
H5: There is a positive relationship between intention to control weight and the
healthy eating practices.