IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/socmed/v72y2011i7p1131-1139.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Why healthy eating is bad for young people's health: Identity, belonging and food

Author

Listed:
  • Stead, Martine
  • McDermott, Laura
  • MacKintosh, Anne Marie
  • Adamson, Ashley

Abstract

Research into young people and healthy eating has focussed on identifying the 'barriers' to healthy eating and on developing interventions to address them. However, it has tended to neglect the emotional, social and symbolic aspects of food for young people, and the roles food might play in adolescence. This paper explores these issues, reporting findings from a qualitative study which explored the meanings and values young people attached to food choices, particularly in school and peer contexts. As part of a larger study into young people's relationships with food brands, 12 focus groups were conducted with young people aged 13-15 in the North East of England. The focus groups found that young people used food choices to help construct a desired image, as a means of judging others, and to signal their conformity with acceptable friendship and peer norms. Importantly, the findings suggested that the social and symbolic meanings associated with healthy eating conflicted with processes and values which are of crucial importance in adolescence, such as self-image and fitting in with the peer group. In other words, it was emotionally and socially risky to be seen to be interested in healthy eating. Interventions need not only to make healthy eating easier and more available, but also to address young people's emotional needs for identity and belonging.

Suggested Citation

  • Stead, Martine & McDermott, Laura & MacKintosh, Anne Marie & Adamson, Ashley, 2011. "Why healthy eating is bad for young people's health: Identity, belonging and food," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 72(7), pages 1131-1139, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:72:y:2011:i:7:p:1131-1139
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277-9536(11)00087-6
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Belk, Russell W & Bahn, Kenneth D & Mayer, Robert N, 1982. " Developmental Recognition of Consumption Symbolism," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 9(1), pages 4-17, June.
    2. Amos, Amanda & Gray, David & Currie, Candace & Elton, Rob, 1997. "Healthy or druggy? Self-image, ideal image and smoking behaviour among young people," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 45(6), pages 847-858, September.
    3. Kuenzel, Johanna & Musters, Pieter, 2007. "Social interaction and low involvement products," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 60(8), pages 876-883, August.
    4. Belk, Russell & Mayer, Robert & Driscoll, Amy, 1984. " Children's Recognition of Consumption Symbolism in Children's Products," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 10(4), pages 386-397, March.
    5. Fox, Nick & Ward, Katie J., 2008. "You are what you eat? Vegetarianism, health and identity," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 66(12), pages 2585-2595, June.
    6. Kahn, Barbara E & Wansink, Brian, 2004. " The Influence of Assortment Structure on Perceived Variety and Consumption Quantities," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 30(4), pages 519-533, March.
    7. Belk, Russell W, 1988. " Possessions and the Extended Self," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(2), pages 139-168, September.
    8. John, Deborah Roedder, 1999. " Consumer Socialization of Children: A Retrospective Look at Twenty-Five Years of Research," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 26(3), pages 183-213, December.
    9. David B. Wooten, 2006. "From Labeling Possessions to Possessing Labels: Ridicule and Socialization among Adolescents," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 33(2), pages 188-198, July.
    10. Hyde, Abbey & Howlett, Etaoine & Brady, Dympna & Drennan, Jonathan, 2005. "The focus group method: Insights from focus group interviews on sexual health with adolescents," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 61(12), pages 2588-2599, December.
    11. Lan Nguyen Chaplin & Deborah Roedder John, 2005. "The Development of Self-Brand Connections in Children and Adolescents," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 32(1), pages 119-129, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Carfora, V. & Caso, D. & Conner, M., 2017. "Correlational study and randomised controlled trial for understanding and changing red meat consumption: The role of eating identities," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 175(C), pages 244-252.
    2. Tarabashkina, Liudmila & Quester, Pascale & Crouch, Roberta, 2016. "Exploring the moderating effect of children's nutritional knowledge on the relationship between product evaluations and food choice," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 149(C), pages 145-152.
    3. Elliott, Charlene, 2014. "Food as people: Teenagers' perspectives on food personalities and implications for healthy eating," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 121(C), pages 85-90.
    4. Shannon, Jerry, 2014. "What does SNAP benefit usage tell us about food access in low-income neighborhoods?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 89-99.
    5. Christoph-Schulz, Inken & Weible, Daniela & Salamon, Petra, 2016. "Preferences for School Milk - How Juveniles Differ," 2016 International European Forum, February 15-19, 2016, Innsbruck-Igls, Austria 244518, International European Forum on System Dynamics and Innovation in Food Networks.
    6. McPhail, Deborah & Chapman, Gwen E. & Beagan, Brenda L., 2011. ""Too much of that stuff can't be good": Canadian teens, morality, and fast food consumption," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 301-307, July.
    7. Thirlway, Frances, 2016. "Everyday tactics in local moral worlds: E-cigarette practices in a working-class area of the UK," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 170(C), pages 106-113.
    8. Wedow, Robbee & Briley, Daniel A. & Short, Susan E. & Boardman, Jason D., 2016. "Gender and genetic contributions to weight identity among adolescents and young adults in the U.S," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 165(C), pages 99-107.

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:72:y:2011:i:7:p:1131-1139. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journaldescription.cws_home/315/description#description .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.