Purpose: Living in an obesogenic environment may not affect all adolescents to the same extent, depending on their psychological sensitivity to the food environment and their self-regulatory competence. The purpose of the current study was to examine associations of these two factors with unhealthy snacking among adolescents. We also investigated whether self-regulatory competence could attenuate the negative effects of being sensitive to the food environment. Methods: A survey was completed by 11,392 European adolescents (10–17 years old). The survey measured psychological sensitivity to the food environment, self-regulatory competence and self-reported unhealthy snack intake. Results: Higher food environment sensitivity and lower self-regulatory competence were associated with more unhealthy snacking. The two factors also interacted, with self-regulatory competence attenuating the influence of high food environment sensitivity. Discussion: Adolescentswho are sensitive to the food environment reported higher unhealthy snack intake.More frequent use of self-regulation strategies on the other hand was associated with lower unhealthy snack intake. Moreover, self-regulatory competence was found to moderate the influence of psychological sensitivity to the food environment on unhealthy snacking, although the effect size was small. Fostering adolescents' self-regulatory competence can help enable them to better navigate the obesogenic environment.
- health consequences