‘Buying salad is a lot more expensive than going to McDonalds’: young adults’ views about what influences their food choices

Howse, E., Hankey, C., Allman-Farinelli, M., Bauman, A. and Freeman, B. (2018) ‘Buying salad is a lot more expensive than going to McDonalds’: young adults’ views about what influences their food choices. Nutrients, 10(8), 996. (doi: 10.3390/nu10080996) (PMID:30061513)

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Young adults (18–30 years of age) are an ‘at-risk’ group for poor dietary behaviours and less healthy food choices. Previous research with young adults has looked at the barriers and enablers driving their food choices, focusing primarily on university and college students. However, there is less research using qualitative methods with young adults as a broader population group. This study aimed to explore the experiences of young adults in two different yet similar settings: Sydney, Australia and Glasgow, Scotland. Eight focus groups of young adult participants, ranging in size from 2–6 participants, were held in Sydney, Australia (n = 14) and Glasgow, Scotland (n = 16) to discuss, explore and compare the determinants and influences of their food choices. Focus group transcripts were coded thematically based on a process of narrative analysis. Three major narratives were identified across both locations: value of food; appeal of food; and emotional connections with food. These narratives were underpinned by a broader narrative of ‘performing adulthood.’ This narrative reflected a belief amongst participants that they should make rational, informed choices about food despite this conflicting with their broader food environment. Future research could examine which environment-level or policy-based interventions are most acceptable to young adults in terms of influencing their food choices and dietary behaviours.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This research was funded by an Early Career Researcher Mobility Grant from the University of Sydney and University of Glasgow.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Howse, Ms Eloise and Hankey, Dr Catherine
Authors: Howse, E., Hankey, C., Allman-Farinelli, M., Bauman, A., and Freeman, B.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Medicine, Dentistry & Nursing
Journal Name:Nutrients
ISSN (Online):2072-6643
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 The Authors
First Published:First published in Nutrients 10(8):996
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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