Navigation Links
Food for thought: Contravening lay beliefs of eating at heart of our dietary disasters
Date:11/4/2011

Waste not, want not. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Don't snack before supper; you'll ruin your appetite.

These dietary pearls of wisdom have been dropped on children for decades, and University of Alberta researcher Robert Fisher says that while people remember them, they quite often have a hard time applying them. In an article recently published in the journal Appetite, Fisher's research notes that while people know the rules surrounding good eating and proper nutrition, they seem to lack one common component that often costs them the battle of the bulge: willpower.

Eating up with the Joneses

Yet, he says, our eating habits are a result of the battle between two conflicting sets of normsdescriptive and injunctive. Injunctive norms are beliefs of what are right or wrong or good or bad in terms of behaviours. These values arrive externally from groups such as family, peers or government, or educational materials. Whether or not a person adheres to those values determines whether the person is rewarded or punished within that group. Descriptive norms, though, are those that define what most people do in terms of actions or behaviours. So, says Fisher, while we know that eating cheeseburgers might be bad for us, the signs in our environment give us the green light to consume.

"Not only is fast-food advertising very prevalent, but you see fast food signs, restaurants and wrappers everywhere," he said. "I think as a result, our baseline notion of what is normal is also changing. It's a bigger part of our lives than it ever has been before and there's no going back."

Food for thought: the rules associated with eating

The focus of Fisher's study, developed with Laurette Dub from McGill University, defined the lay beliefs of Americans with regards to rules about eating. Responses such as not snacking, always eating breakfast and not wasting food were common responses. Through a series of studies, Fisher was able to synthesize his findings into scales wherein these rules were weighed against factors such as eating behaviours, body satisfaction and social desirability.

"The goal was to demonstrate that these scales are a comprehensive inventory of North Americans' most important beliefs about eating," said Fisher.

Knowing and doing not the same

Fisher was surprised to find that people with higher body mass indexes had stronger beliefs associated with the rules than people with lower BMIs. Yet, he notes, that there are plenty of examples in society of people knowing what to do but acting in a contradictory manner. He says that what they did find in the study is that people with higher BMIs actually had stronger beliefs in the normative rules related to eating. The missing element, he said, was not following their individual belief structures.

"What we found is that if people undertake these behaviours, which are related to the norms, they tend to have a lower BMI," said Fisher. "Having the beliefs alone is just not sufficient."

Conscientious objectors of bad eating habits?

Fisher says the issue of obesity seems to be of an almost epidemic nature in today's society. The key to solving the problem, he says, is not about repeating the messages about harmful and good eating habits. He believes that issues such as impulsive eating can be curbed and changed, but what needs to be worked on is the resolve to follow the rules people already know and not give up.

"It's not a knowledge problem. People know what they need to do. It's just doing it or being motivated enough to do it, said Fisher. "It's really about changing behaviours.

"You have to be both willing and able to change."


'/>"/>

Contact: Jamie Hanlon
jamie.hanlon@ualberta.ca
780-492-9214
University of Alberta
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Risk for COPD Higher Than Thought: Study
2. Rare Form of Stroke Strikes More Often Than Thought: Report
3. Respect for Muslims Beliefs Would Improve Their Health Care: Study
4. Religious beliefs shape health care attitudes among US Muslims
5. UNH researcher discovers research manipulated to support pro-eugenic beliefs
6. Doctors Religious Beliefs Can Color Their Care of Terminally Ill
7. Attitudes, beliefs and health literacy impact how patients manage chronic lower-back pain
8. Survey finds significant racial differences in lung cancer beliefs
9. Wayne State creating computer-based drug intervention for at-risk post-partum women
10. Health risk from eating well-done meat may be underestimated
11. Research examines college students knowledge about eating disorders
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... that we intend to develop to enable prevention of a major side effect ... hearing loss, especially in pediatric patients. For cisplatin, hearing loss is FDA listed ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... HMP , a leader in healthcare ... Folio Magazine Eddie Digital Award for ‘Best B-to-B Healthcare Website.’ Winners were announced during ... , The annual award competition recognizes editorial and design excellence across a range of ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... , ... On Saturday, October 21, the Health & Wellness Center at Florida ... money for the American Heart Association Heart Walk. Teams of up to 10 people ... keep their treadmills moving for 5 hours. Treadmills will start at 7:00 p.m. on ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Health Literacy Innovations (HLI), creator of the ... the Cancer Patient Education Network (CPEN), an independent professional organization that shares best ... alliance. , As CPEN’s strategic partner, HLI will help support CPEN members ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... Miramar, FL (PRWEB) , ... October 12, 2017 ... ... is presenting the latest in wound care advancements to physician colleagues, skilled nursing ... lecture is titled, "Navigating the Treacherous Waters of Wound Care." , "At many ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... , Oct. 11, 2017  Caris Life Sciences ... on fulfilling the promise of precision medicine, today announced ... joined Caris, Precision Oncology Alliance™ (POA) as its 17 ... centers, the St. Jude Crosson Cancer Institute will help ... the use of tumor profiling, making cancer treatment more ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... COUNTY, Calif. , Oct. 10, 2017  NDS received FDA ... Mobile  — a medical-grade battery-powered display stand specifically designed for endoscopy ... to transform technology into a clinical solution to support the improvement ... Innovative Design ... ZeroWire Mobile Wireless Solution ...
(Date:10/5/2017)... ROSEMONT, Ill. , Oct. 5, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ ... American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS) ... than opioids – to be used as a ... post-surgical pain. ... relationship, the AAOMS White Paper "Opioid Prescribing: Acute ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: