Attitudes to Food
* People hold many different attitudes to specific aspects of their life – friends, work, school or family may be regarded as ‘good’, ‘fun’, ‘boring’, ‘safe’, ‘exciting’, ‘dull’, and so on.
* In the same way, people also hold different attitudes towards eating, and food is associated with a multitude of meanings.
* For example, food can represent comfort when you are feeling unhappy; it can be used as a distraction when you are bored, or a way of showing someone they are special.
* This complex array of meanings is summarised by Todhunter.
* ‘Food is prestige, status and wealth... it is a means of communication and interpersonal relations, such as an ‘apple for the teacher’ or an expression of hospitality, friendship, affection, neighbourliness, comfort and sympathy in time of sadness or danger. It symbolises strength, athleticism, health and success. It is a means of pleasure and self-gratification and a relief from stress. It is feats, ceremonies, rituals, special days and nostalgia for home, family and the ‘good old days’. It is an expression of individuality and sophistication, a means of self expression and a way of revolt. Most of all it is tradition, customer and security. There are Sunday foods and weekday foods, family foods and guest foods; foods with magical properties and health and disease foods.
* One approach to the study of eating behaviour focuses on an individual’s attitudes to food.
* This research tends to concentrate on a number of core cognitions about food, including the following:
* Self-efficiency (e.g. ‘I am confident I eat healthily’)
* Costs (e.g. ‘Eating makes me fat’)
* Benefits (e.g. ‘Eating well enables me to stay healthy’)
* Subjective Norms (‘My friends are all on a diet’)
* Attitudes (e.g. ‘Salad is not very filling’)
* Perceptions of risk (e.g. ‘Eating too much meat may be bad for me’)
* Perceptions of severity...