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Factors influencing attitudes to food and eating behaviour

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Danielle Weston

on 28 May 2013

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Transcript of Factors influencing attitudes to food and eating behaviour

Factors influencing attitudes to food and eating behaviour Social learning theory emphasises the impact that observing other people has on our own attitudes and behaviour towards food. Our eating behaviours are a result of observing models actions. Social Learning Theory Parental modelling According to parental modelling a child’s eating behaviour is learnt by observing the behaviour of their parents. Parents have a control of the foods brought into the house and as such control what is being eaten.
Their research suggests a general association between a parent and a child’s attitudes to food. They reported a consistent correlation between parents and children in terms of their snack food intake, eating motivations and body dissatisfaction. Brown and Ogden They conducted a study into the relationship between a parent and a child’s eating behaviour. They reported a clear relationship between a mother’s food nutrient intake and that of her pre-school children and suggested that parents could be targeted to help combat negative eating habits. Olivera et al Similar Eating behaviours/food nutrient intake Implications of research into Social Learning Theory - Parental modeling This research suggests that parents eating habits are highly influential over their child as children view their parents as models and imitate the perceived behaviour. IDA's Evaluation Points General Educates parents on what is a good diet and so they will have a healthier lifestyle which will lead to their children having a more nutritious diet. Attitudes to food are more than just social learning, food preferences are important, this shows that the theory is reductionist by ignoring other views Impact of parents on children deteriorates as children grow up Methodological Contradictory Evidence Garg et al
observed food choices of 38 participants
watching a happy or sad film
offered popcorn or seedless grapes
sad film p's ate 36% more popcorn
happy film p's ate far more grapes
happy people extend mood with healthy food
sad people increase mood with calorific foods Brown and Ogdens research is based on a correlation and therefore we cannot determine a cause and effect of the results this then means that we cannot determine which variable causes the change in the other variable. Reductionist – this theory suggests that the only answer to our eating behaviours is our social ability. Therefore it overlooks other approaches such as the cognitive and biological. Our thought processes might have an effect on the way we eat and therefore this approach is reductionist. Against biological approach – this theory suggests that the way we eat is determines by our environment and upbringing and therefore overlooks the biological approach. It could be determined by our genes or hormones. Suggests that your mood determines what you eat - bed mood - high calories Cultural influences such as ethnicity can effect eating behaviours this is because children in the UK may develop positive attitudes to food (pizza, crisps and chips) believing them to be tasty and a treat. However children in India grow up believing that spicier foods taste better, while children in Japan may prefer a fish based diet. There’s also considerable variation in food preferences within a culture with some families having a meat based diet and some eating vegetarian meals. Ethnicity studied over 14,000 women aged 18-23 in Australia and this research found that across all ethnic groups the more time spent living in Australia the more similar the eating behaviour to those born there (this is known as the acculturation effect). Ball & Kennedy Rozin suggests that the best predictor of a human beings food preference, habits and attitudes would be information about the ethnic group of that individual rather than a biological measure. Implications This suggests that an individual’s attitude to food is highly influenced by the culture they are living in, even if it is not their own therefore showing that you can adapt to the environment that you are in. Evaluation General Individual differences - may just not like food

Quantities of food are subject of availability Methodological Ball and Kennedy -

Large sample - results more valid, results can be applied across more people

unrepresentative sample, only conducted on women, therefore the results cannot be applied to men Contradictory evidence Ball and Kennedy suggest that it is the environment that effects our eating behvaiour, however, Lesha suggests that it is your ethnicity that matters and influences our eating behaviours IDA's Gender Bias – the research supporting this approach is based mainly on a sample of women and therefore overlooks the factors that effect men and their eating behaviours. Therefore we cannot rely on the research support for this approach. Reductionist – this approach doesn’t take other approaches into account. It focuses completely on how the individual is brought up in their culture and how this affects their eating behaviour. Against biological approach – this theory suggests that the way we eat is determined by our environment and upbringing and therefore overlooks the biological approach. It could be determined by our genes or hormones. Comfort Eating Comfort eaters have a negative attitude towards food as they rely on unhealthy, junk food as their main comforter when feeling low or depressed. Therefore eating unhealthy, high calorie foods such as chocolate. Garg et al Results: Those watching the sad film ate 36% more popcorn and those watching the upbeat film ate far more grapes. Garg claims snacks that taste good ‘jolt you out of a sad mood with a sudden rush of euphoria’. Happy people want to extend their mood with healthy food. He observed food choices of 38 participants
Watched an upbeat and funny or a sad and depressing movie
Offered popcorn and seedless grapes throughout the film Comfort Prolonging a good mood Implications This supports the idea that comfort eating has a significant negative impact on peoples eating behaviour. Evaluation General Methodological IDA's Contradictory Evidence Garg et al used typical cinema food for the high calorific snack which could effect the results as eating popcorn is associated with watching any film
Individual differences could have an effect as people may have a personal preference to what food they eat and therefore this may effect the results
depending on the time of day, before or after lunch will depend on how much each participant eats Application use as if you level out someones mood through therapy or drug you can reduce amount of comfort eating and change attitudes to food
Mood changes several times a day but this doesnt mean your eating behaviour will change with it- could only be with major mood changes Brown and Ogden
Parental modeling influences eating behaviour Culture bias – in certain cultures there are different types and amounts of food available to the people living there. Therefore these people will take different views on food and the way they eat and so their mood may not affect the way they eat. Reductionist – this approach assumes that our mood can affect the way we eat. However, it could be determined by our upbringing and environment or our social situation. Therefore this approach overlooks other theories and is therefore a reductionist. Against biological approach – this theory suggests that the way we eat is determines by our environment and upbringing and therefore overlooks the biological approach. It could be determined by our genes or hormones.
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