Understanding the food choice process of adolescents in the context of family and friends
ABSTRACT To understand from the adolescents' own perspective the decision-making processes they use to make food choices on an everyday basis and how they resolve their need for personal control over food choices with the values of family and peers.
A sample of 108 adolescents, aged 11-18 years, were individually interviewed. They were asked in a simulated task to choose a lunch from a menu of offerings and give reasons for their choices. In addition, open-ended questions probed for meal structures, dinners, perceptions of degree of choice, role of family and peers. Interviews were audio-taped, transcribed, coded, and analyzed for emerging themes.
Primary food choice criteria were taste, familiarity/habit, health, dieting, and fillingness. Lunches had a definite structure, and lunches differed from dinners. The food choice process involved personal food decision-making rules such as trade-offs among choice criteria within a meal (e.g., taste for core items and health for secondary items), and between lunches with peers (taste) and family dinners (health); negotiation patterns with the family (autonomy versus family needs); and interactions with peers.
The food choice process for most adolescents seemed to involve cognitive self-regulation where conflicting values for food choices were integrated and brought into alignment with desired consequences. Educators and practitioners should recognize the dilemmas adolescents face in making food choices and help them develop strategies for balancing less healthful with more healthful food items, through: (a) personal food decision-making rules, (b) effective negotiations with family members; and (c) appropriate interaction patterns with peers.
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ABSTRACT: The number of young people in Europe who are not in education, employment or training (NEET) is increasing. Given that young people from disadvantaged backgrounds tend to have diets of poor nutritional quality, this exploratory study sought to understand barriers and facilitators to healthy eating and dietary health promotion needs of unemployed young people aged 16–20 years. Three focus group discussions were held with young people (n = 14). Six individual interviews and one paired interview with service providers (n = 7). Data were recorded, transcribed verbatim and thematically content analysed. Themes were then fitted to social cognitive theory (SCT). Despite understanding of the principles of healthy eating, a ‘spiral’ of interrelated social, economic and associated psychological problems was perceived to render food and health of little value and low priority for the young people. The story related by the young people and corroborated by the service providers was of a lack of personal and vicarious experience with food. The proliferation and proximity of fast food outlets and the high perceived cost of ‘healthy’ compared to ‘junk’ food rendered the young people low in self-efficacy and perceived control to make healthier food choices. Agency was instead expressed through consumption of junk food and drugs. Both the young people and service providers agreed that for dietary health promotion efforts to succeed, social problems needed addressed and agency encouraged through (individual and collective) active engagement of the young people themselves.Appetite 02/2015; 85:146-154. DOI:10.1016/j.appet.2014.11.010 · 2.52 Impact Factor
Dataset: Fitzgeral et al., 2010
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ABSTRACT: Food choices established during childhood and adolescence tend to persist into adulthood with consequences for long-term health. Yet, to date, relatively little research has examined factors that influence the food choices of children and adolescents from their perspectives. In this article, previous research is extended by examining developmental differences between children's and adolescents' perceptions of factors influencing their food choices. Focus group discussions were conducted with 29 young people from three age groups (9-10, 13-14 and 16-18 years). An inductive thematic analysis identified three key factors as influencing food choices. These factors included intra-individual factors: the link between food preferences and awareness of healthy eating; intra-familial factors: the role of the home food environment; and extra-familial factors: eating away from the home. Findings indicate that there were developmental differences between children's and adolescents' perceptions of factors influencing food choice. Among adolescents, parental control began to diminish and adolescents exercised increased autonomy over their food choices compared with children. To develop effective nutrition interventions, it is important to gather child and adolescent input regarding factors perceived as influencing their food choices.Health Promotion International 04/2010; 25(3):289-98. DOI:10.1093/heapro/daq021 · 1.94 Impact Factor