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Influences on eating: a qualitative study of adolescents in a periurban area in Lima, Peru
|Title:||Influences on eating: a qualitative study of adolescents in a periurban area in Lima, Peru|
|Authors:||Banna, Jinan C.|
Buchthal, Opal Vanessa
Creed-Kanashiro, Hilary M.
Penny, Mary E.
|Keywords:||child nutrition sciences|
|Publisher:||BMC Public Health|
|Citation:||Banna JC, Buchthal OV, Delormier T, Creed-Kanashiro HM, Penny ME. Influences on eating: a qualitative study of adolescents in a periurban area in Lima, Peru. BMC Public Health. 2015;16:40. doi:10.1186/s12889-016-2724-7.|
|Abstract:||Background: Peruvian adolescents are at high nutritional risk, facing issues such as overweight and obesity,
anemia, and pregnancy during a period of development. Research seeking to understand contextual factors that
influence eating habits to inform the development of public health interventions is lacking in this population. This
study aimed to understand socio-cultural influences on eating among adolescents in periurban Lima, Peru using
Methods: Semi-structured interviews and pile sort activities were conducted with 14 adolescents 15–17 years. The
interview was designed to elicit information on influences on eating habits at four levels: individual (intrapersonal),
social environmental (interpersonal), physical environmental (community settings), and macrosystem (societal). The pile
sort activity required adolescents to place cards with food images into groups and then to describe the characteristics
of the foods placed in each group. Content analysis was used to identify predominant themes of influencing factors in
interviews. Multidimensional scaling and hierarchical clustering analysis was completed with pile sort data.
Results: Individual influences on behavior included lack of financial resources to purchase food and concerns about
body image. Nutrition-related knowledge also played a role; participants noted the importance of foods such as beans
for anemia prevention. At the social environmental level, parents promoted healthy eating by providing advice on food
selection and home-cooked meals. The physical environment also influenced intake, with foods available in schools being
predominantly low-nutrient energy-dense. Macrosystem influences were evident, as adolescents used the Internet for
nutrition information, which they viewed as credible.
Conclusions: To address nutrition-related issues such as obesity and iron-deficiency anemia in Peruvian adolescents,
further research is warranted to elucidate the roles of certain factors shaping behavior, particularly that of family, cited
numerous times as having a positive influence. Addressing nutrition-related issues such as obesity and iron-deficiency
anemia in this population requires consideration of the effect of social and environmental factors in the context of
adolescent lifestyles on behavior. Nutrition education messages for adolescents should consider the cultural perceptions
and importance of particular foods, taking into account the diverse factors that influence eating behaviors.
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