Table of contents
Social, cognitive and physiological Factors 3
Cultural factors 4
Economic Factors 5
Biological psychological factors 6-7
Environmental factors 8
Factors Influencing Family’s Diet in the Caribbean
In the world today people knows of the word nutrition but what does nutrition really mean? Nutrition is the utilization of food, in relation to the body’s nourishing needs. According to WHO (2017), a good nutrition is a sufficient, well balanced diet mixed with everyday physical activities and this is an essential way of promoting positive health. A low or poor diet on the other hand, can result in the reduction of immunity, raise susceptibility to disease, damage physical and mental development, and lessen productivity (WHO, 2017).
Most parents/guardian try to groom their children on a daily basis in developing healthy eating styles. Visualizing through the sight of the Caribbean, eating with members, relatives and friends often times can be one of comfort, interactions, happiness and nourishment, but these same delicacies we eat leads to many struggles if not balanced carefully (Bires-Cook, 2016).
There are numerous factors that influences a family’s diet and by individuals being fully aware of these factors it will help them to make the right eating choices throughout. To list a few of these factors and explain further on are, Social, Cognitive and Psychological factors, Cultural factors, Biological and Physiological factors, Environmental factors and finally Economic factors.
Social, Cognitive and Psychological Factors
Normally, throughout the world, schools and universities there is a major social and psychological factor influencing person’s diet. Poor eating habits are a high public health concern among individuals in schools mainly because they are opened to a great percentage of stress and lack of time. Though this is said to be brief as part of the education life, usually it may continue in older adult life (Ganasegeran, Al-Dubai, Qureshi, Al-abed, Rizal & Aljunid, 2012).
Rizal et al. (2012) went on to quote, speedy changes in physical growth and psychosocial development has categorized these individuals as nutritionally exposed groups with a poor diet that falls short to meet dietary requirements. Meanwhile, because of these common factors (schools, universities), young peers find themselves skipping meals, eating away from home, snacking and consuming fast foods daily which are most times unhealthy (Rizal et al., 2012)
According to Stephenson and Schiff (2016), learning processes (cognitive) can also influence a family’s food choice. There are numerous ways one’s can learn which foods are appropriate for eating that is from past experiences, cultural practices, religious teachings, home, in the classroom and media. These are all ways which motivates person’s to new foods but even after discovering which foods are most healthy to influencing a family’s diet, there are more psychological factors like emotional stress and moods that play an essential role in what people choose to eat (Stephenson and Schiff, 2016, pp. 11-13).
Diverse cultures influence individuals to consume multiple types of food. In certain families, religion has a major to role play consumption and types of foods preferred. An example the Hindu and Buddhist religions that don’t eat pork and beef because of what they believe in (Dindyal ; Dindyal, 2013).
Here are personal factors based upon one’s culture that affects them when deciding to partake in foods which are based on our rostered way of eating and how it is being prepared. Secondly, is the way one is classed based on his or her occupational background? Second, if the income is below minimum wage, only essential foods can be bought (Dindyal & Dindyal, 2013).
Dindyal and Dindyal (2013) explained that various ethnic groups have its preferred choice of food, mainly because these people were grown and trained in a particular way, style and manner. However, their way towards life and people, health and even food choices will be widely influenced by their ethnic group. These traditions, customs, norms and values are instilled at an early age so that the factors can be practiced and remained throughout a lifetime (Dindyal & Dindyal, 2013).
The nutritional habits people get is a handy way to place whole diets to be influenced by economic factors (Petrauskiene, Zaltauske, & Albaviciute, 2015). Factors such as food prices and consumer income will determine one’s food choices also (Huang 1998).
Further, Huang (1998) mentioned that the cost of food for the low income family, students and elderlies is one of the major factors on a worldwide because they have to budget their income properly so that they don’t end up in difficulties on a weekly to monthly basis. The job that a person has according to the type that is, has apart to play in food choices; since this job now decides what will be the quality and quantity of food to choose from based on one’s income. When buying food, economic factors are recognised as the most overbearing (Huang, 1998).
Biological and Psychological Factors
This heading carries factors that most times has an effect on food choices these includes age, the way a person differentiate external sensory details (i.e. smell, taste and the texture of foods), and the internal sense of hunger and thirst (Stephenson ; Schiff, 2016, p11-13).
Nestle (2007) stated that age is recognised as one of the many biological factors that contributes to a family’s food choice in the Caribbean. Infants and young children are dependent on their loved ones or care-givers to prepare their foods and to decide on the kind of food they eat on a daily basis (Stephenson & Schiff, 2016, p 11-13). According to Nestle (2007), food companies use the advantage of television advertisements by means to persuade children in high craving for the product by the use of bright glooming colours and songs that suits their age bracket. This on the other hand leads children to convince their parents to purchase the product which can be of good or bad health depending on what type of product it is (Nestle, 2007). However, teenagers have higher control over their daily nutrition intake than infants (Stephenson & Schiff, 2016, pp. 11-13).
The media situation does not only defines a child eating habits but it also plays an important role in the influencing of young adults that has a key mind-set focused on both local and foreign fast foods (Alladin, 2015). When parents lets go of their young adults from home to go out in the open interact with people from the many diverse geographical and ethnic backgrounds, their choice of food becomes quite enlarged. Whereas, older adults with age-related health complications, difficulty swallowing, or loss of teeth, food choice will result to liquid or soft foods (Stephenson & Schiff, 2016).
According to Birch and Fisher (2017), diseases is another biological factor affecting a family’s diet whether by gender, sex, body size, metabolic rate and many others. The alarming trend of obesity among children and adults is high and constantly keeps increasing because of poor nutritional intake in the homes. When researches were done, it was found that parents who are obese, their children is at a greater risk of developing obesity compared to those parents who has normal weight. When a person has a chronic disease, this may lead to changing the food choices, how much is being intake and how it is prepared (Birch ; Fisher, 2017). Factors such as stages of life whether it’s during pregnancy or older adult years and health complications most definitely can change a family’s diet as well (Stephenson ; Schiff, 2016, pp. 11-13).
Sensory information has a part to play too because human beings has different sense towards foods such as taste, odour and even the appearance of the food to decide whether they like it or not to satisfy their eating needs (Stephenson ; Schiff, 2016, pp. 11-13).
The environment is one of the biggest influencer of one’s diet. Some of these environment factors includes: Restaurants and eating out – instead of cooking a nice home meal, people prefer to eat out and forget the quality of food they are eating. The availability and convenience of fast foods motivates families to just buy and go. However, as convenient as it is, these fast food places promote high-fatty, energy dense foods which can lead to obesity if inactive (Alipour, 2010).
Education and income/occupation are other factors – the more wisdom people get about their nutrition, is the more they will take their diet seriously. Additionally, persons who are in higher ranked positions will constantly buy food in better places because they can afford it. Furthermore, their fast-paced jobs give them no time to cook so they have to dine out instead of home (Alipour, 2010).
In the Caribbean, it’s easier to eat meals at a restaurant than to prepare them. Food marketing efforts are also media advertising, which encourages people to try food products despite their nutritional value, making it difficult for dieticians to help their clients make knowledgeable, healthier food choices (Stephenson ; Schiff, 2016, pp. 11-13).
This research indicated that there are multiple factors that can influence a person or family’s diet especially in the Caribbean. Doing the necessary researches on this topic, it has shown that food choices are not a simple process since foods are not chosen but more so they are liked. There are other reasons for in taking certain foods where taste, smell and appearance of the food is more pleasurable than considering the quantity and quality of it (Australian Government Department of Veterans’ Affairs, 2015).
Apart from the biological and economic factors, the media has a great influence on people’s food choices (Alladin, 2015), as well as personal factors i.e. mood, culture etc. (Alipour, 2010). Families are becoming obese because of these environmental factors such as fast food outlets eliminating well balanced home cooked meal (Birch & Fisher, 2017).
Action needs to be taken to reduce the complex occurrence of diseases by these factors. In so doing, individuals, families and communities have to work together to promote healthier food choices (Henry 2011).
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