A qualitative study of the drivers of socioeconomic inequalities in men's eating behaviours 11 Medical and Health Sciences 1117 Public Health and Health Services 17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences 1701 Psychology
BMC Public Health , Volume 18 - Issue 1
Background: Men of low socioeconomic position (SEP) are less likely than those of higher SEP to consume fruits and vegetables, and more likely to eat processed discretionary foods. Education level is a widely used marker of SEP. Few studies have explored determinants of socioeconomic inequalities in men's eating behaviours. The present study aimed to explore intrapersonal, social and environmental factors potentially contributing to educational inequalities in men's eating behaviour. Methods: Thirty Australian men aged 18-60 years (15 each with tertiary or non-tertiary education) from two large metropolitan sites (Melbourne, Victoria; and Newcastle, New South Wales) participated in qualitative, semi-structured, one-on-one telephone interviews about their perceptions of influences on their and other men's eating behaviours. The social ecological model informed interview question development, and data were examined using abductive thematic analysis. Results: Themes equally salient across tertiary and non-tertiary educated groups included attitudes about masculinity; nutrition knowledge and awareness; 'moralising' consumption of certain foods; the influence of children on eating; availability of healthy foods; convenience; and the interplay between cost, convenience, taste and healthfulness when choosing foods. More prominent influences among tertiary educated men included using advanced cooking skills but having relatively infrequent involvement in other food-related tasks; the influence of partner/spouse support on eating; access to healthy food; and cost. More predominant influences among non-tertiary educated men included having fewer cooking skills but frequent involvement in food-related tasks; identifying that 'no-one' influenced their diet; having mobile worksites; and adhering to food budgets. Conclusions: This study identified key similarities and differences in perceived influences on eating behaviours among men with lower and higher education levels. Further research is needed to determine the extent to which such influences explain socioeconomic variations in men's dietary intakes, and to identify feasible strategies that might support healthy eating among men in different socioeconomic groups.