Results of four focus groups with adolescents and older adults
Purpose - Although adolescents and older adults are often targets for nutritional change interventions, little has been done to explore how people in these transitional life phases perceive the matter themselves. The purpose of the study reported in this article is to explore and compare adolescents’ and older adults’ own perceptions of the barriers and facilitators of a change towards healthier eating. Design/methodology/approach - This study design consisted of four focus groups that were conducted with adolescents and older adults to identify their health orientations, and their expected and experienced outcomes and self-efficacies in implementing approach and avoidance behaviours in relation to healthy eating, i.e. increasing consumption of fruit and vegetables and decreasing consumption of soft drinks and red meat. Findings - The study resulted in a number of interesting insights, e.g. that older and younger participants a like: Were keen not to seem "overly healthy" to their important others, had a demonstratively detached orientation towards healthy eating and felt that their diets were generally healthy (although this was generally disproved by their self-reported intake data). Originality/value - The study and findings reported in this article contribute by providing the first steps towards a better understanding of how social cognition and self-efficacy perceptions related to healthy eating develop in the transitional phases of adolescence and older adulthood. In order to complement and validate the findings of the study; and with the aim of facilitating efficient nutritional change interventions directed at adolescents and older people, further studies should be conducted.
British Food Journal, 2014, Vol 116, Issue 4, p. 570-584