The importance of sociocultural context when choosing to eat healthier

Dai, Jane and Zulkefli, Nur Fadzlina and Moy, Foong Ming and Humphries, Debbie L. (2022) The importance of sociocultural context when choosing to eat healthier. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 54 (2). pp. 143-150. ISSN 1499-4046, DOI

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Objective: To explore how working women in metropolitan Malaysia make food decisions. Design: A grounded theory approach and semistructured interviews. Setting: A large university in metropolitan Malaysia. Participants: Twenty-four female employees purposively recruited to vary in ethnicity, body mass index, age, and marital status via convenience sampling. Phenomenon of Interest: Perceptions of sociocultural influences on healthy eating behavior among working women. Analysis: Researchers audio-recorded interviews and analyzed verbatim transcripts. Results: Working women shared a desire to eat a healthier, more balanced diet by reducing processed food consumption through home-cooked meals. Participants described aspects of their living situations and cultural values about food that made it seem impossible to change their diets. Living with other people limited their ability to cook the food they wanted to eat. In addition, unspoken rules about communal eating in Malaysia, such as not refusing food and not wasting food, prevented working women from practicing healthy eating. Conclusions and Implications: In this population of working women in metropolitan Malaysia, experiences of time scarcity and limited sociocultural support for behavior change were major barriers to healthy eating. Interventions could prioritize leveraging these realities about food to facilitate environments in which women feel like they have control of their own food intake.

Item Type: Article
Funders: Yale Sustainable Food Program's Global Food Fellowship, Dull Family Summer Internship Fund
Uncontrolled Keywords: Eating behavior; Working women; Social conformity; Cultural values; Malaysia
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Medicine
Depositing User: Ms. Juhaida Abd Rahim
Date Deposited: 05 Aug 2022 06:54
Last Modified: 05 Aug 2022 06:54

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