Applying Multi-Theory Model (MTM) of Health Behavior Change to Predict Water Consumption Instead of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages

Manoj Sharma, Hannah Priest Catalano, Vinayak K. Nahar, Vimala C. Lingam, Paul Johnson, M Allison Ford


Background: A substantial proportion of college students to not drink enough water and consume sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs). Consumption of SSBs is associated with weight gain, obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus, dental carries, and increased risk for cardiovascular disease. Hence, the purpose of this study was to use the multi-theory model (MTM) in predicting initiation and sustenance of plain water consumption instead of sugar-sweetened beverages among college students.

Study design: A cross-sectional study.

Methods: In this cross-sectional study, a 37-item valid and reliable MTM-based survey was administered to college students in 2016 via Qualtrics at a large public university in the Southeastern United States. Overall, 410 students responded to the survey; of those, 174 were eligible for the study and completed it.

Results: Stepwise multiple regression analysis revealed that 61.8% of the variance in the initiation of drinking plain water instead of SSBs was explained by behavioral confidence (P<0.001) and changes in the physical environment (P<0.001). Further, 58.3% of the variance in the sustenance of drinking plain water instead of SSBs was explained by emotional transformation (P<0.001) and practice for change (P=0.001).

Conclusions: Multi-theory model of health behavior change is a robust theory for predicting plain water consumption instead of SSBs in college students. Interventions should be developed based on this theory for this target population.



Water consumption; Water intake; Health behavior; Theoretical model

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