Background: Gender differences in health behaviors have been reported in many studies but causal mechanisms have been neglected. Purpose and Methods: This study examines 4 food choice behaviors in a large sample of young adults from 23 countries and tests 2 possible explanatory mechanisms for the gender differences-women's greater likelihood of dieting and women's greater beliefs in the importance of healthy diets. Results: Women were more likely than men to report avoiding high-fat foods, eating fruit and fiber, and limiting salt (to a lesser extent) in almost all of the 23 countries. They were also more likely to be dieting and attached greater importance to healthy eating. Dieting status explained around 22% of the gender difference in fat choices, 23% of fiber choices, and 7% of fruit, but none of the gender difference in salt. Health beliefs explained around 40% of the differences in each of the dietary behaviors and together they explained almost 50%. Gender differences in food choices therefore appear to be partly attributable to women's greater weight control involvement and partly to their stronger beliefs in healthy eating. Conclusions: Further research is needed to understand the additional factors that could promote men's participation in simple healthy eating practices.
|Translated title of the contribution||Gender Differences in Food Choice: The Contribution of Health Beliefs and Dieting|
|Pages (from-to)||107 - 116|
|Number of pages||10|
|Journal||Annals of Behavioral Medicine|
|Publication status||Published - 2004|