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Permanent link (DOI): https://doi.org/10.7939/R39S1KW8H
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Perceived community environmental influences on eating behaviors: A Photovoice analysis Open Access
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Belon, Ana Paula
Nieuwendyk, Laura M.
Nykiforuk, Candace I.J.
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Community-based participatory research
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People's perceptions of local food environments influence their abilities to eat healthily. PhotoVoice participants from four communities in Alberta, Canada took pictures of barriers and opportunities for healthy eating and shared their stories in one-on-one semi-structured interviews. Using a socioecological framework, emergent themes were organized by type and size of environment. Findings show that, while availability and access to food outlets influence healthy eating practices, these factors may be eclipsed by other non-physical environmental considerations, such as food regulations and socio-cultural preferences. This study identifies a set of meta-themes that summarize and illustrate the interrelationships between environmental attributes, people's perceptions, and eating behaviors: a) availability and accessibility are interrelated and only part of the healthy eating equation; b) local food is synonymous with healthy eating; c) local food places for healthy eating help define community identity; d) communal dining (commensality) does not necessarily mean healthy eating; e) rewarding an achievement or celebrating special occasions with highly processed foods is socially accepted; f) food costs seemed to be driving forces in food decisions; g) macro-environmental influences are latent in food decisions. Recognizing the interrelationship among multiple environmental factors may help efforts to design effective community-based interventions and address knowledge gaps on how sociocultural, economic, and political environments intersect with physical worlds.
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