Healthy Eating Habits Charlotte
The cornerstone of therapeutic nutrition intervention hinges on the facilitation of positive nutritional and lifestyle behavioral changes being made to facilitate optimal health outcomes, reduction in medication and an increase in quality of life. The methods by which this facilitation occurs fills volumes of books on cognitive change theory, coaching techniques, counseling strategies and methods of education. But, what is it that really drives a person to make a positive nutritional change and what strategies would be most effective on a public health basis to facilitate communication that fosters these positive changes?
As early as 2001 studies pointed towards our attitudes towards food and change that creates an impact on the actual change occurring. A recent study emphasized the importance of changing the perception of eating to one of a more positive, healthy image instead of leaning towards a restrictive “diet” regimen.
Other more recent studies are looking at social theory in changing peoples’ eating choices and getting away from the “educational” model by appealing to the social norms in a healthy, positive light.
Who we eat with has a powerful effect on what we choose to eat and how much we eat.
The modeling of appropriate, healthy eating behavior using the appropriate serving sizes is a robust tool for change.
Attitudes and positive food choices
Most interesting, however, is the recent emphasis on “attitudes” and positive food choices. In a study of adolescents, food choices and various influencing parameters, it was found that only attitudes made a real difference in the participants choices of healthy foods. The authors of this paper conclude that interventions to promote healthy eating for adolescents need to include ways of creating positive attitudes on healthy eating i.e. opinions about perceived outcome.
To improve chances of successfully implementing positive change we need to start thinking of our food choices as being healthy for our energy levels, how our body looks and responds and embrace the happy things about making healthy choices rather than dwelling on how to prevent a disease that perhaps we can never imagine ourselves having until it is too late to make the decision to prevent it.
Such a revised focus for public health would mean more successful adoption of messages geared at making healthy food choice changes as we would be promoting energy, vitality, longevity, beauty, physique and happy images associated with the positive lifestyle changes.
People that tend to emphasize positive outcomes and pursuing goals they set for themselves are more likely to take an interest in the educational component whereas prevention attitudes have not shown a difference in healthy food choices.
These results appear stronger in men than in women and that the effect of a positive outcome expectation is higher in upper income strata.
Results from this same study did show a positive relationship between exposure to nutritional knowledge increasing nutritional involvement which then led to more appropriate food selections.