Gender Differences in Food Choice: The Contribution of Health Beliefs and Dieting

J Wardle, AM Haase, A Steptoe, M Nillapun, K Jongwutiwes, F Bellisle

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

    695 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    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 contributionGender Differences in Food Choice: The Contribution of Health Beliefs and Dieting
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)107 - 116
    Number of pages10
    JournalAnnals of Behavioral Medicine
    Volume27 (2)
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2004

    Bibliographical note

    Publisher: Society of Behavioral Medicine

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