FOOD CHOICES

Food choices

Several factors influence a person’s food choices and consumption. There are different reasons and considerations that account for the choices an individual makes when it comes to food. In 2002, researchers studied the psychosocial predictors of healthful dietary behaviors among adolescents. They observed that the intention to have a healthy diet was influenced by one’s family and friends, knowledge about nutrition, availability, and affordability of healthy foods, and intrinsic motivation that led to a good dietary behavior. Adolescents with enough knowledge, support, and access to healthy food had a positive disposition in eating a balanced diet and would even tolerate giving up those foods that they liked to eat just to maintain a healthy body. This also made them feel good about themselves. In Australia, a group of researchers conducted a study to determine the correlation between food consumption and eating patterns of children belonging in high and low-income families. They observed the children’s consumption of fruits, vegetables, and other foods and drinks. Their research showed that children from low-income families perceived that fruits and vegetables were expensive and as a result, turned to unhealthy snacks and drinks which were more affordable in price. They also found out that children who ate more fruits and vegetables also had a higher intake of healthy beverages and lower intake of unhealthy food and drinks. This study shows us that socio-economic status affects food choice and consumption. Another research showed that the diet quality and energy provided by snacks were related to one’s coping behaviors in managing stress. They found out that individuals dealing with stress turned to eat snacks as a way of coping with their problems and emotions. These eating occasions gave them energy but the diet quality was also affected. Studies tell us that a person’s socio-economic status, psychological state, level of awareness, location, and other fundamental factors influence his or her food choices, consumption, and dietary behavior.