Young Adolescents’ Experiences and Views on Eating and Food

Alice Gilmour, Steve Gill, Gareth Loudon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Abstract
Purpose
Poor eating habits established during adolescence are likely to lead to negative long-term health consequences. The childhood obesity epidemic is a growing public health concern, largely attributed to obesogenic environments. This study aims to explore the multiple factors contributing positively or negatively to young consumers’ attitudes towards their food consumption.

Design/methodology/approach
In total, 42 11- to 13-years-old (24 men and 18 women) from three secondary schools in Wales participated in five focus group discussions. The process of thematic analysis resulted in several identified themes that influenced young consumers’ eating habits.

Findings
Extrapersonal factors compromised: education, peer pressure, parenting, availability and social media; and intrapersonal factors included: health consciousness, taste preferences, convenience and price consciousness. Contrary to previous research, the adolescent participants perceived their parents as more influential than their peer group, even during decision-making in the school canteen.

Practical implications
These research findings are beneficial for policy-makers working to develop an age-appropriate multi-factorial approach to promote healthful dietary practices amongst young consumers. For instance, increasing easily accessible food-to-go choices that are not only convenient to purchase and consume but also healthful could improve dietary intake.

Originality/value
A novel connection between peer pressure and convenience was discovered. Multiple factors contribute to young consumers’ attitudes towards food and their dietary habits.
Original languageEnglish
Article number21(4)
Pages (from-to)389-402
Number of pages13
JournalYoung Consumers
Volume21
Issue number4
Early online date3 Sep 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 5 Dec 2020

Keywords

  • school
  • adolescence
  • food choice
  • peers
  • children and food
  • taste preferences
  • peer pressure
  • healthful eating
  • convenience
  • education

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