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A Qualitative Exploration of Drivers of Eating Habits in Young Australian Men Eleanor Capel 1, Danielle Gallegos 1 1 Queensland University of Technology,

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Presentation on theme: "A Qualitative Exploration of Drivers of Eating Habits in Young Australian Men Eleanor Capel 1, Danielle Gallegos 1 1 Queensland University of Technology,"— Presentation transcript:

1 A Qualitative Exploration of Drivers of Eating Habits in Young Australian Men Eleanor Capel 1, Danielle Gallegos 1 1 Queensland University of Technology, Australia Introduction Australian men’s health status is poor, with a lower life expectancy than women and higher chronic disease risk due in part to poorer dietary habits. Previous studies and sociological theories have: linked gender norms around food and masculine ideals to men’s eating patterns; and aligned these forms of masculinity with certain occupations. This study sought to explore the drivers of young, Australian men’s diets, the link to ideas of masculinity and occupation groups to assist in the development of strategies to support healthier eating habits in this population. Discussion and Conclusion Findings from this study indicated that young Australian men do not adhere to perceived social norms or masculine ideals associated with different occupation groups. This idea of changing masculinities and the emergence of ‘multiple masculinities’ is verified by previous literature. Despite this, elements of the traditional masculine ideal still appeared to resonate therefore gender norms around food still appear relevant. Population health messages appear to have little traction with this group but opportunities for effective health promotion may exist in men’s places of exercise or work. Further research in this area should be done to substantiate effective health promotion strategies to improve health outcomes for men, leading to a decreased burden on the healthcare system. Methods Australian men under 30 years of age Living out of home in Brisbane, Queensland 11 manual labour workers (‘blue collar’) 9 office-based workers (‘white collar’) Semi-structured, in-depth interviews were conducted, where the participants discussed their food culture, influential drivers of their eating habits as well as answering a series of short dietary questions. These interviews were digitally recorded and transcribed verbatim. Initially, the transcripts were independently open coded. Axial coding was undertaken, where codes were examined at a more conceptual level and categories were identified. From a constructivist perspective, emergent themes were entirely derived from the interview data. Results Twenty men were interviewed ranging in age from 19 to 30 years of age living in a variety of relationships and living situations including: living alone, with friends, siblings, partners, wives and/or children. Men Can Cook A move away from the traditional masculine ideal and traditional gender roles of cooking with some men. Give the Man a Routine A tendency to focus on healthy eating only when undertaking a regular exercise program. Gyms influence eating patterns. “Like I don’t like to cook everything, I’m not that good with cakes and biscuits and things. But roasting, I can do that. And barbecuing - I’ve got the barbecue down pat...I can cook meat, meat’s easy. Roasted vegetables, no worries. But like boiling and steaming....eughhh” (White Collar Worker, 28 years) Feed the Man Meat A tendency towards gendered food types with a tendency towards meat-based meals with barbecuing still resonating. “my grandad said that if you can’t cook and look after yourself then you’re not a man...” (Blue Collar Worker, 22 years) “I guess like trying to get fitter (helps me to eat healthily)..Like, you know, I’ll try and go to the gym more so I’ll try to improve my eating habits to complement that.” (Blue Collar Worker, 22 years) What health message? Little recognition of or interest in population health messages. “ I don’t think I’ve ever counted how many serves of anything I’ve (eaten)...” (White Collar Worker, 23 years) “.... I think the typical Aussie male a while ago was probably someone who didn’t really give a shit about what they ate or what they looked like. But I think that that’s changed, it’s changed in that way. They care about themselves and the way they look more so nowadays.” (White Collar Worker, 27 years) “It’s not unusual for men to cook these days... (When I cook) I work everything around the meat. Apart from when (my girlfriend) makes a vege bake or something, I would not eat a main meal without some form of meat.” (Blue Collar Worker, 24 years) “When I’m trying to get fit, like every couple of months, um, then I try and eat as healthily as I possibly can. And that sort of all comes back to when work is a bit easier and you’ve got a little bit more time to do a bit of exercise... and try to eat well with it”. (White Collar Worker, 28 years) “I probably would (think of healthy eating messages as applying to me), but I probably wouldn’t care.” (Blue Collar Worker, 19 years)


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