Purpose – This article aims to examine young consumers’ perceptions of healthy eating, contexts where healthy or unhealthy eating are practiced, and their valuation of regulatory measures that discourage the consumption of unhealthy foods in two different markets. Design/methodology/approach – A convenience sampled survey was conducted of 386 Danish and Chinese adolescents using a structured questionnaire. Findings – Results showed that perceptions of healthy eating were generally based on concepts such as balance and moderation. Unhealthy eating was most frequently practiced at parties and in festive periods. Hong Kong respondents were more likely to associate eating habits with healthy eating than Danish respondents. Danish respondents were more likely to practice healthy eating at schools than Hong Kong respondents. Making tanks of cold water freely available everywhere was perceived to be most effective in discouraging the consumption of soft drink. There were age, gender and market differences in attitudes toward selected regulatory measures that discourage the consumption of soft drinks. Research implications – Health educators and public health campaign designers should design health communication messages that target different perceptions of unhealthy eating, as well as different unhealthy eating contexts. Policy makers should be aware of the difference in local environmental conditions when designing regulations to encourage healthy eating. Originality/value – The study is an innovative attempt to examine adolescents’ perception of healthy eating and attitudes toward food regulatory measures in more than one consumer market.
Young Consumers, 2011, Vol 12, Issue 3, p. 216-228
Health promotion; Intervention; Surveys; Individual perception; Collectivism