Attitudes, subjective norms and perceived behavioural control factors influencing Canadian secondary school students’ milk and milk alternatives consumption Journal Articles uri icon

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  • Abstract Objective: The research objectives were to evaluate factors that influence Canadian secondary school students’ milk and milk alternatives (MMA) consumption and to explore associations through age and gender lenses. Design: A qualitative design was used, consisting of semi-structured interviews and photo-elicitation methods. Analysis was guided by the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB). Deductive and inductive thematic analyses were used to generate themes, charting data based on attributes such as gender and age. Setting: Interviews were held virtually or via telephone. Participants: Participants were twenty-eight high school students from Ontario, Canada, diverse in terms of gender and age. Results: Both desirable and undesirable beliefs about the health outcomes of consuming MMA were commonly discussed. These included health benefits such as strong bones, muscular strength, and growth, and health consequences like unwanted skin conditions, weight gain, and diseases. While boys and girls associated MMA consumption with muscular strength, boys predominantly considered this favourable, while girls discussed outcomes like unwanted skin conditions and weight gain more often. Adolescents’ perspectives on taste/perceived enjoyment, environmentally friendly choices and animal welfare also influenced their MMA preferences. Parental influences were most cited among social factors, which appeared to be stronger during early adolescence. Factors involving cost, time and accessibility affected adolescents’ beliefs about how difficult it was to consume MMA. Conclusions: Recommendations for shifting attitudes towards MMA are provided to address unfavourable beliefs towards these products. Interventions to increase MMA consumption among adolescents should include parents and address cost barriers.


  • Thompson, Carise M
  • Elliott, Susan
  • Meyer, Samantha
  • Leatherdale, Scott T
  • Majowicz, Shannon E

publication date

  • 2024