Time perspective and eating behaviour of young adults: how important is a healthy future compared to the present?

T Begho, Shuainan Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
12 Downloads (Pure)


Promoting healthy dietary habits is a concern for public health due to the association between unhealthy diets and nutrient related diseases. This paper examines the relationship between individuals' temporal dietary behaviour and perceptions of the effect of dietary habits on physical health, and how these perceptions influence two important aspects of eating behaviour, i.e., daily consumption of healthy food and self-reported extra payment for healthy food options.
Cross-sectional data on 457 young Chinese adults within the age category of 18-30 years were collected through a survey. Two subscales (immediate and future) were obtained from the Consideration-of-Future-Consequences-12 scale (CFC) through a factor analysis. A Seemingly unrelated regression (SUR) was estimated to determine whether CFC impacts behaviour through an awareness of the consequences of one's dietary habits.
Individuals who are more focused on immediate gratification were more likely to perceive their current dietary habit have a negative effect on their physical health (p<0.001). In contrast, those who prioritize the future benefits were less likely to perceive negative health effects from their dietary habits (p<0.001). However, the perception of negative consequences of dietary habit on physical health did not motivate healthier eating daily (p<0.001) nor allocating more money towards eating healthy (p<0.001).
The paper uses insights from behavioural economics in identifying the behavioural triggers that lead to a healthier dietary habit.
Practical implications
Understanding the relationship between time perspective and dietary habits could help identify potential risk factors for poor dietary choices and promote healthier eating habits.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalNutrition and Food Science
Early online date26 Jun 2024
Publication statusFirst published - 26 Jun 2024


  • Dietary habits
  • Health perception
  • Time orientation


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