What are the perceived barriers to healthy eating in the UK and what strategies to encourage healthy eating are most effective?
Jenkins, Chloe Johanna
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Abstract This small scale research study used qualitative research methods with the aim to explore the question ‘what are the perceived barriers to healthy eating in the UK and what strategies to encourage healthy eating are most effective?’ A systematic review of peer reviewed literature available within the public domain was undertaken; the literature search conducted led to the selection of five research papers which were critically appraised in order to provide reliability and validity to the study, the papers were then critically analysed to produce findings to the research question. The papers selected used a combination of qualitative and quantitative methodologies in order to provide a holistic approach to the research question. Findings highlighted the association of cost and socio economic status as barriers to healthy eating and suggest that individuals from low economic status were more likely to choose unhealthier foods than those of high economic status. Additionally the role of cost for both consumers of food and food manufacturers is a key contributor to barriers of healthy eating. Further findings identified that the two government strategies analysed showed little impact on improving heathy eating behaviours. This study reviews different factors that can influence an individual’s food choices and encourages the importance of health interventions in addressing the barriers individuals are facing. The research identifies a relationship between the barriers identified as strongly influenced by culture and recognises that there is a gap in the literature in recognising the role of culture in healthy eating initiatives. Limitations of the study recognises the small scale of the study in conjunction with lack of researcher experience at an undergraduate level. Further research is needed to consider alternative interventions that can overcome the barriers that are reduce effectiveness at level of implementation.
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