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Discuss Factors Relating to Attitudes to Food and Eating Behaviours

In: Social Issues

Submitted By sophwright
Words 894
Pages 4
Discuss factors relating to attitudes to food and eating behaviours.
(8+16 marks)
Sophie Wright

Attitudes to food and eating behaviour can be influenced by several factors including culture, mood and health concerns. One explanation of attitudes to food regards the social learning theory and involves the role of parental modelling within our food choices. Social learning theory emphasises the impact that observing other people has on our own attitudes and behaviour. In terms of food choices, parental modelling inevitably affects children because parents control the foods bought and served in the home. Brown and Ogden (2004) reported consistent correlations between parents and their children in terms of snack food intake, eating motivations and body dissatisfactions, reinforcing the idea that children mimic the behaviours of their parents.

Not only does social learning apply to the effect of our parents, but also to the effect of the media and peers. MacIntyre et al (1998) studied the impact of the media on eating behaviour and found that the media have an impact both on what people eat, and also their attitudes to certain foods. However, MacIntyre also stated that how much we are influenced is determined by many other factors, for example age, income and background.

The findings of Meyer and Gast’s 2006 study on the influence of peers support the idea of social learning theory in relation to eating behaviour. They surveyed 10-12 year olds and found a positive correlation between peer influences and disordered eating. The ‘likeability’ of peers was the most influential factor.
Birch and Fisher found that the best predictors of the daughters’ eating behaviour were the mothers’ dietary constraint and their perception of the risks of the daughters becoming overweight. This supports other evidence providing that social learning and modeling has a...

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