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

h 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."


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

Page: 1 2

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