Goal difficulty and goal commitment affect adoption of a lower glycemic index diet in adults with type 2 diabetes

Carla K. Miller, Amy Headings, Mark Peyrot, Haikady Nagaraja

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Few studies have examined the effect of goal difficulty on behavioral change even though goal setting is widely used in diabetes education. The effect of a goal to consume either 6 or 8 servings/day of low glycemic index (LGI) foods was evaluated in this study. Methods: Adults 40-65 years old with type 2 diabetes were randomly assigned to the 6 or 8 serving/day treatment group following a 5-week GI intervention. Perceived goal difficulty, commitment, satisfaction, and self-efficacy were evaluated, and four day food records assessed dietary intake. Results: Both groups increased consumption of LGI foods (P< 0.001); there were no significant differences in the change in consumption between groups. Participants who were more committed to the goal perceived the goal to be less difficult (P< 0.01). Those with greater efficacy beliefs were more committed to their goal, perceived the goal to be less difficult, and were more satisfied with their performance (all P< 0.05). Conclusion: A specific goal regarding LGI foods can facilitate the adoption of a lower GI diet. Future research is needed to determine if goal commitment or goal difficulty mediate the process. Practice implications: Clinicians should help clients set specific goals regarding dietary change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)84-90
Number of pages7
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Goals
  • Health behavior
  • Nutrition assessment
  • Patient education
  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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