Karen Glownia

Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department or School


Committee Member

Heather Janisse, Ph.D., Chair

Committee Member

Karen Saules, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Stephen Jefferson, Ph.D.


The current study investigated environmental barriers to the intention-behavior gap. The food environment was examined as a moderator between motivation for healthy living and actual eating behavior. A sample of 55 low-income African American women (Mage = 30.25, SD = 7.46) completed self-report motivation and eating behavior questionnaires. The food environment was measured by the number and proportion of healthy and unhealthy food retailers in one’s neighborhood using ArcGIS mapping software. The results showed that greater motivation was associated with less unhealthy eating when there was relatively equal access to nearby unhealthy and healthy food retailers. When given both options, in the context of high motivation, individuals may be more likely to decline unhealthy foods consisting of high amounts of oils, fats, and sugars. A combination of motivational interventions and innovative food policy and urban planning initiatives may be needed to promote healthier communities.