Dreams are renewable. No matter what our age or condition, there are still untapped possibilities within us and new beauty waiting to be born.

-Dale Turner-

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Food consumption influences

(Space man food)

Parts of a rough assignment draft from earlier this semester...
Just some interesting findings.
Consumption and Public Health

“Social factors have a great influence over food choice and some consumers are not aware of this and these factors may have either positive or negative effects on food intake” (Barasi, 2007).  A report by World Heath Organisation expert showed that “there is a strong link between food and beverage intake and a variety of diseases like cardiovascular disease, various types of cancers and Type 2 diabetes, as well as a link to risk factors such as diabetes” (Public health association of Australia, 2007).  The overall contribution of food and drink related risk factors measured in the report showed that they had a greater impact on burden of disease than tobacco or alcohol (Public health association of Australia, 2007).

Actual impact non-communicable on individuals will depend on their genetics and their food choices (Barasi, 2007).  “If regulation of fat intake is poor it may result in over consumption of energy” (Barasi, 2007) and excessive saturated fat intake is potentially associated with disease (Barasi, 2007).  High sugar intake can result in dental problems (Barasi, 2007) and excessive soft drink consumption may cause excess energy consumption and contribute to obesity and diabetes (Barasi, 2007).

Diet related communicable diseases such as diabetes and obesity contribute to public health as they are increasing the demand for health promotion and preventative action (For example, “Draw the line on gaining weight” campaign).  “Total cost of obesity in 2008 was $58.2 billion and It is hoped that nutrition programs help to lower this figure”. (Public Health Association of Australia, 2007).  The social determinants of food consumption and their specific effects on public health will be discussed below.

 Influences on consumption

As discussed, there are many influences on food consumption which include environmental influences, cultural influences and social influences.  Social influences are most significant in developed countries such as Australia where other factors such as economy and the environment have less of an impact on public health, food sustainability and food product options.  In this section, the primary social influences of food consumption will be discussed and a brief description of their impact on public health will be discussed.

Social ideologies
Social ideologies have a fundamental impact on food consumption.  Thus, accepted behaviours related to food within a social group will strongly influence food choice (Barasi, 2007).  There is a strong association between food and gender ideologies, which can be seen in different food consumption patterns and food types (Wang et al, 2008).  Many foods are advertised or promoted to be gender specific, such as a number of Special K advertisements for women and KFC’s “Footy box” box for men (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lx2CtItV6lY&feature=related).  These foods are designed to tie in with social ideologies of masculinity and femininity; that men need large protein rich portions to accommodate for their high energy output, body mass and body image and that women need small, light and healthy convenience foods to accommodate their busy and demanding lifestyle.  The “Footy box” in particular shows that KFC is the perfect meal to have while watching the football with friends and is thus targets the large number of Australian men that watch football.

 Social ideologies and public health
It is stated by Australian public health association that women are more likely to take into account the effects of unhealthy eating than men (Public health association Australia, 2007).  Due to the imagery associated with masculinity, men are not as likely to consume lower energy or “diet foods” (Wang et al, 2008) and thus are a social group that the public health system must focus on.  Thus health promotion that targets males is essential to help reduce obesity and heart disease in men.

Socio-economic status
Wang states that “Materialism has become a predominant consumer ideology and influences consumption behaviour, including food choices” (Wang et a, 2008).  Certain foods may be socially perceived as prestigious and only consumed by those of higher social status and thus may be purchased and consumed by those willing impress others (Barasi, 2007).  Often these “high status” foods are indulgent foods such as alcoholic beverages, gourmet sweets/pasteries etc that contribute to over consumption of high energy foods, and thus influence lifestyle diseases such as obesity.  However this is not always the case as foods such as seafood products (in particular crustaceans) are only
 affordable to certain people but are very beneficial to one’s health.  Wahlqvist also suggests that an influencing factor in snack food consumption is wealth and therefore purchasing power (Wahlqvist, 2002).  In opposition to high income, low income or low socio-economic status will also influence food choice and consumption as such individuals or households with less income will be likely to choose low prices over food quality.  Thus there is less choice in what foods will be consumed as products will need to be affordable for a low budget.  Healthy foods are often more expensive than convenience foods such as fast foods and may be consumed less because of their price.

Socio-economic status and public health
 The prevalence of diet related illnesses is increasing across both social classes but low income families need most attention from the public health system.  Budgeting assistance and information about cheaper healthy food options are necessary in ensuring that all Australians have the right to healthy, nutritious foods (Public Health Association of Australia, 2007).

Advertising is designed to influence particular groups or target audiences and to entice them into purchasing a product by using social “ideals”.  Children tend to be easily susceptible to advertising as they are so impressionable and this becomes particularly dangerous when so much advertising of unhealthy foods is seen on television (Kaye et al 2008).  It is estimated that Australian children between 5-14 years watch on average 20 hours of screen based entertainment per week (Kaye et al, 2008).  Approximately 30% of advertising aired during children’s peak television viewing hours promote food products and of all food product advertising, 50-80% of these promote unhealthy foods (Kaye et al 2008).

“A review of 122 studies showed that food advertising influences what children eat – what they want parents to buy and what they will put in their mouths” (Kaye et al, 2008).  Thus food advertising campaigns affect the way children perceive food and make it hard for the child to differentiate between healthy and unhealthy food.  In a current Kellogg’s LCM bar advertisement (seen on channel seven), there are a number of children looking into their lunchboxes with disappointment.  The lunchboxes contain an apple/fruit and a sandwich; a standard child’s school lunch.  The viewer then sees another lunchbox containing an LCM bar.  The layout of the lunchbox is more appealing and colourful and the bar in the lunchbox is described as being “fun”.  All the other children are jealous and so this leaves the viewer (children) feeling like they should be that particular child with the “fun” lunchbox.  It is advertisements like these that can negatively educate and be misleading to children.

Advertising is also often aimed at mothers, as they are usually the purchasers and preparers of food within a household.  This type of advertising plays on convenience factors which may mask nutritional factors (Eg something fun and easy rather than healthy) and is usually shown in a supermarket setting. “If a manufacturer brings a new product to the supermarket, the supermarket can demand that the manufacturer spends a large amount on advertising to ensure the product has satisfactory sales” (Wahlqvist, 2002).  Thus advertising in supermarkets is usually very confronting with posters, free testing sachets etc.

Effects on public health
“Studies have found that frequently advertised unhealthy foods tend to be over consumed and thus disrupts recommended daily intake balance (Chapman et all, 2006).  “Advertising of unhealthy foods to children could be the reason why Australian children do not consume the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables for good health despite some improvements in national and state Go for 2 & 5 campaigns”. (Public Health Association of Australia, 2007). It has also been recognized that younger people consume less fresh produce than older people (Public Health Association of Australia, 2007) and also continue to consume higher than recommended intakes for unhealthy foods (Eg. soft drinks, chips, biscuits and lollies) (Public Health Association of Australia, 2007).  Thus in summary, the effects of advertising are impacting public health because of increasing figures of obesity (Public Health Association of Australia, 2007) in young children.  “Obese children have a 25-50% chance of progression to adulthood obesity” and the “high volumes of unhealthy food advertising on television contributes to our “obesity-promoting” environment” (Chapman et al, 2006).  Thus there is a serious need for health promotion to children, which is starting to be done in schools (Public Health Association of Australia, 2007).

Research by the Australian Public Health Association shows that “Australians are consuming more foods prepared outside the home with 28% of total food expenditure made on foods from restaurants, cafes, take away and fast food outlets” (Public Health Association of Australia, 2007).  The primary reason for this is consumer preference for foods that are convenient and require little or no preparation (Wahlqvist, 2002).  There are an increasing number of Australians working full time which makes convenience foods such as fast foods and prepackaged foods so appealing (Walqvist, 2002).

Lifestyle and Public health
Convenience foods and fast foods and snack foods are (as previously stated) often high in saturated fats, sugars and salt.  The World health organization report stated that a high consumption of energy rich foods (and thus kilojoules) and foods high in sugar, salt and saturated fat contribute to non-communicable disease” (Public Health Association of Australia, 2007).  The Public Health Association recognizes that it is important to choose foods in and out of home that are both nutritious and affordable” (Public Health Association of Australia, 2007).  Thus changes in lifestyle are having an impact on public health.


Miss Mind.Detox said...

I see i chose the seriously unedited version

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