Few overviews on population determinants for (un)healthy food and beverage consumption have been published. Those that exist provide a combination of evidence on individual and collective environmental factors impacting eating behavior. provides an umbrella review of systematic reviews on the influences of youth diets, looking at four environments (physical, social, economic, political) as well as socio-cognitive factors. Mixed findings for environmental factors may reflect the immaturity and quantity of research available on the topic, as well as its complexity. Since healthy and unhealthy eating are not mutually exclusive behaviors, the determinants of healthy eating can provide insight into the same for unhealthy eating. uses a population lens to explain why groups may or may not meet food and nutrition recommendations and why multilevel collective approaches will be effective in promoting healthy eating in populations. Three significant theoretical frameworks that depict the relationship between several determinants and food consumption include ; ; and . All have been cited extensively and have been used to inform and explain research on population determinants of healthy and unhealthy eating. These frameworks share similarities in that each considers multiple environmental factors but differ in how these factors relate to one another, the individual, and eating behaviors. centers on features of the physical food environment that impact how individuals perceive their environment and their behaviors. Conversely, focuses on several different types and levels of environmental factors (physical, economic, social, and communication) situated within multiple political contexts. and are two examples where these theoretical frameworks have been used to research and evaluate interventions and actions. is a third framework that presents determinants using an ecological model where an individual is placed within multiple distal and proximal social, physical, and political environments.
This article uses a population health perspective to examine the complex set of interactions among the determinants of healthy eating. An overview of current knowledge on determinants of healthy eating was organized as follows: 1) individual determinants of personal food choices and 2) collective determinants, including a) environmental determinants as the context for eating behaviours and b) public policies as creating supportive environments for healthy eating. A conceptual synthesis of the literature revealed that individual determinants of personal food choice (physiological state, food preferences, nutritional knowledge, perceptions of healthy eating and psychological factors) are necessary, but not sufficient, to explain eating behaviour, which is highly contextual. Collective determinants of eating behaviour include a wide range of contextual factors, such as the interpersonal environment created by family and peers, the physical environment, which determines food availability and accessibility, the economic environment, in which food is a commodity to be marketed for profit, and the social environment, in which social status (income, education and gender) and cultural milieu
Determinants of healthy eating in Canada: An overview and synthesis.
Payette H, Shatenstein B. “Determinants of Healthy Eating in Canadian Population Groups: Seniors”, Office of Nutrition Policy and Promotion, Health Canada, May 2003, submitted.