Social factors influencing food selection
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Social Factors Influencing Food Selection. Many Factors influence food choices and nutritional status. Social Factors Influencing Food selection. Social factors influencing food selection include: Food habits and patterns Knowledge about food Ability to prepare and cook food

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Social Factors Influencing Food Selection

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Social factors influencing food selection

Social Factors Influencing Food Selection

Many Factors influence food choices and nutritional status

Social factors influencing food selection1

Social Factors Influencing Food selection

  • Social factors influencing food selection include:

    • Food habits and patterns

    • Knowledge about food

    • Ability to prepare and cook food

    • Responses to advertising

    • Peer group pressure

    • Geographic location – Available food supply

Food habits and patterns

Food Habits and Patterns

Types of foods available and generally selected by certain groups in a community. For example, one group may choose to use rice more than another group, who selects bread and pizza products.

The methods of food preparation used. For example, boiling rather than steaming, stir frying rather than curry making.

How the food is served and eaten. For example, are the meals served on individual plates or as a buffet? Is the food eaten at the table or in front of the TV.

Making a meal of your family relationships by susie barrell april 2012

Making a meal of your family relationships by Susie Barrell(April 2012)

‘…dinner often consumed at three or four different time intervals throughout the evening, with a range of different menu choices for the average busy, overcommitted family.’

‘…family meal times are an opportunity for young children to role model good eating behaviours from adults, to learn the appropriate manners, eating speed and have it reiterated that dinner does not always translate to 2 minute noodles or chicken nuggets with a few token vegetables.

Food habits and patterns1

Food Habits and Patterns

The portion size of the meal. For example, are the meals large? How many meals there are per day?

What times the meals are eaten. For example, in winter meals may be eaten earlier.

Socially acceptable behaviours for the group while eating. For example, in North America one does not eat in front of others outside of meal time. Or having a second serving at a buffet.

Knowledge about food

Knowledge about Food

  • Nutrition knowledge varies greatly in the community and does affect the ability to achieve good nutrition.

  • People access nutrition information from many places including:

    • TV, Magazines, Food products, The internet, Schools, Computer programs, Gyms, Doctors, Brochures, Naturopaths, Dieticians, Chemists, Family and Peers

Knowledge about food1

Knowledge about Food

The nutrition knowledge must be applied appropriately.

A health scare is one motivator to learn more about nutrition.

Many people in the community are interested in a healthy lifestyle and follow good diets and exercise routines.

Ability to prepare and cook food

Ability to prepare and cook food

Cooking gives the cook the opportunity to modify recipes to suit personal needs and tastes and allows them to control the amounts of fat, sugar, salt and other preservatives.

Inexperienced or rushed cooks may need to take shortcuts, and thus use some ready made products.

Ability to prepare and cook food1

Ability to prepare and cook food

It is cheaper to cook your own food than use commercially prepared products. This is because you avoid paying for someone to cook it for you and expensive packaging, transportation and advertising.

Cooking traditions are part of different cultures and are passed on from generation to generation.

Responses to advertising

Responses to Advertising

  • Advertising is very powerful and affects all who are exposed to it.

  • It attempts to entice us to buy products from those who will benefit.

    • The food producer

    • The company making the food

    • The advertising company

    • The retailer

Responses to advertising1

Responses to Advertising

Advertisers rarely take nutrition into consideration unless they can use it as an angle to get you to buy more of their product.

Advertising can give misleading information to people by having the consumer draw a wrong conclusion.

Regular exposure to advertisements begin to “brainwash” you into wanting the food.



‘ The product claims to contain '20 per cent of your wholegrain target', be a 'source of fibre' and contain 'no artificial colours or flavours'. However it is high in fat and is 30 per cent sugar.’ (Choice)

‘Australians are being confused by nutrition claims. Supermarket aisles are littered with products that make '99% fat free' or 'high in protein' claims which are often a cover for their high sugar content. (Choice)

Responses to advertising2

Responses to Advertising

Two for the price of one and upsizing is used with highly processed, high fat and sugar foods.

Advertising high fat, salt and sugar foods in children’s viewing times leads to children having a greater say in the families purchasing habits. Links have been made with the increasing obesity levels in Australian children.

Peer group pressure

Peer Group Pressure

  • Peer group pressure happens regardless of how old you’re.

  • Ask yourself related to your nutrition and eating habits:

    • How good are they for you?

    • Do they sometimes mislead you?

    • Do they encourage you to eat foods that may not be the best nutritional choice?

Geographic location

Geographic Location

People living in isolated areas may not have the option of shopping weekly or dropping into the supermarket when they have run out of something.

Reliance on powered, dried canned and frozen products is a reality for many in Australia.

In remote areas fresh fruit and vegetables may cost triple the city price due to expensive refrigerated transport costs.

Geographic location1

Geographic Location

Food is generally more expensive in large country towns that are not isolated. Lack of competition from other food outlets and transportation and storage all contribute to increase costs.

Many families will choose to do a large shop when they come to the city and so they rely on long shelf life products.

Revision scenarios

Revision - Scenarios

Person A:

A married 26 year old pregnant woman, who is a shift worker.

Person B:

A 20 year old man studying at a tertiary institution and living away from home.

Q1. Explain how the challenges faced are likely to influence their nutritional status.



Q2. State a conclusion you can draw about the relationship between the maximum level of education / level of income and the percentage of the population that is obese.



Q3. The weight categories of a population are influenced by socio-environmental factors. Describe how socio-environmental factors other than level of income and level of education may affect dietary intake.

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