Food choice and nutrition: A social psychological perspective
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© 2015 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. In this Special Issue, entitled “Food choice and Nutrition: A Social Psychological Perspective”, three broad themes have been identified: (1) social and environmental influences on food choice; (2) psychological influences on eating behaviour; and (3) eating behaviour profiling. The studies that addressed the social and environmental influences indicated that further research would do well to promote positive food choices rather than reduce negative food choices; promote the reading and interpretation of food labels and find ways to effectively market healthy food choices through accessibility, availability and presentation. The studies on psychological influences found that intentions, perceived behavioural control, and confidence were predictors of healthy eating. Given the importance of psychological factors, such as perceived behavioural control and self-efficacy, healthy eating interventions should reduce barriers to healthy eating and foster perceptions of confidence to consume a healthy diet. The final theme focused on the clustering of individuals according to eating behaviour. Some “types” of individuals reported more frequent consumption of fast foods, ready meals or convenience meals or greater levels of disinhibition and less control over food cravings. Intervention designs which make use of multi-level strategies as advocated by the Ecological Model of Behaviour change that proposes multi-level (combining psychological, social and environmental) strategies are likely to be more effective in reaching and engaging individuals susceptible to unhealthy eating habits than interventions operating on a single level.
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