Barriers to Making Healthy Food Choices
Standard: Dealing with personal preferences, restrictions and barriers
Standard: Personal likes and dislikes (food allergies)
Standard: Family influence
Standard: Peer Influences
Standard: Cultural Influences
Factors That Influence Food Choices
Food choices are influenced by many factors, personal likes, family influence, peer influences and cultural influences. Although the main purpose of food is to nourish the body, food means far more than that to many people. It can represent much of whom and what we are.
Personal Likes & Dislikes
1. Food preferences begin early in life and change as we are exposed to new people and places.
2. Taste, texture and appearance affect our food choices.
Mood and Emotions
1. Psychologically, food can be a temporary distraction.
2. Emotional eaters consume more sweets & fatty foods.
3. Emotional eating can cause weight gain.
Stress related eating is an unhealthy coping strategy brought on by depression or anxiety. Distracting oneself with a walk or a movie rather than a candy bar might prevent emotional eating. When the urge to eat happens, eat something healthy.
1. Parents can be healthy and/or un-healthy role models.
2. Working and single parents may rely on fast food.
3. Parents may use sweets for rewards.
4. Adults sometimes assume that children won't eat healthy foods.
5. Family size is related to childhood obesity. Children in big families have a lower prevalence of obesity than children in small families.
6. Children of obese parents have a 25-30% chance of becoming obese themselves, primarily due to poor eating habits rather than genetics.
Suggestions for Families
Shop for groceries as a family, selecting foods low in fat and sugar. Parents should be aware of their own diets. Avoid fast food restaurants by planning meals and snacks before leaving home and try to dine together as a family.
1. Peers can be both healthy and un-healthy influences on food choices.
2. Peer pressure comes from the natural longing to "fit in"and peers may influence each others food choices. They may encourage poor dietary habits by encouraging each other to eat sugary and fast foods.
3. Avoiding peer pressure is difficult. Sometimes it helps to find friends who support your own ideas and emotions.
1. Minorities and people living in lower socioeconomic neighborhoods tend be heavier. 8% of immigrants were obese in their first year in United States, by the time they were here 15 years, that number rose to 19%.
2. In America, immigrants tend to exercise less and eat fattier foods than in their native countries.
3. Studies show that obesity is higher among African American, Mexican American and Native Americans.
4. Researchers have found that people living in countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea exhibit lower rates of heart disease compared to Americans. Their diet includes a variety of plant sources, whole grains beans, nuts, seeds and olive oil, while limiting dairy and saturated fats.
5. Asians have typically had lower rates of cancer and heart disease. Their diets include high amounts of plants including sea vegetables, grains beans, seeds and soybeans. Their diets contain very little dairy if any and minimal amounts of red meat and other saturated fats.
1. Low wages and long work hours result in a rise of fast food eating and limited physical activity.
2. Fast food restaurants offer cheap fatty foods to people with low incomes.
3. People living in suburbs are more likely to be overweight than people living in urban environments where stores and businesses are in walking distance.
Food Allergies or Food Intolerances
1. Food allergies or food intolerances affect nearly everyone at some point by experiencing an unpleasant reaction to food.
2. The most common foods to cause allergic reactions include: shellfish, and peanuts; both causing severe anaphylaxis, a sudden drop in blood pressure that can be fatal if not treated quickly.
3. The most common food intolerance: lactase deficiency, affects at least one out of ten people. If a person does not have enough lactase, the body cannot digest the lactose in most milk products. Instead, the lactose is used by bacteria, gas is formed, and the person experiences bloating, abdominal pain, and sometimes diarrhea.
4. Gluten intolerance is associated with the disease celiac disease. It is caused by an abnormal immune response to gluten, which is a component of wheat and some other grains.
5. Other foods that can cause adverse reaction are some fish, some wines, and cheeses along with food additives such as MSG, sulfites and artificial coloring.
Prepared for HealthTeacher by Lisa Ford