Experts' perceptions on motivators and barriers of healthy and sustainable dietary behaviors among adolescents: The SWITCH project

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Abstract

The interplay of influences shaping dietary behaviors of adolescents needs to be well-understood to develop effective strategies stimulating healthy and sustainable behaviors. This study aimed to identify the most relevant, urgent, changeable and effective motivators and barriers of healthy and sustainable dietary behaviors among adolescents (10–19 years), as perceived by an inter- and transdisciplinary expert panel. Experts working in practice (N = 19) and academia (N = 13) – in the field of sustainability, health, nutrition and/or education – participated in this exploratory mixed-methods study. Five online semi-structured focus groups were conducted (6–7 participants). Data was thematically analyzed by two coders independently, using the socioecological framework. Subsequently, the same experts individually selected the five most relevant determinants and rated those on their urgency, changeability and effectiveness through an online questionnaire (N = 21). Participants revealed a wide system of 31 main determinants including 173 sub-determinants that motivate or hinder healthy and sustainable eating among adolescents. This system of determinants was mapped on the different layers of the socioecological model: individual factors (25 motivators; 30 barriers), social environments (15 motivators; 13 barriers), physical environments (18 motivators; 15 barriers), macro-level environments (19 motivators; 38 barriers). ‘Role of peers' (social environment) was selected most as a determinant to be targeted in interventions (N = 13; urgency (M = 6.38) changeability (M = 3.85), effectiveness (M = 5.62)), followed by ‘food environment around school' (N = 9; urgency (M = 5.78) changeability (M = 3.44), effectiveness (M = 5.44)), ‘social influences' (N = 7; urgency (M = 5.43) changeability (M = 4.00), effectiveness (M = 5.71)), ‘autonomy in development' (N = 7; urgency (M = 6.00) changeability (M = 4.29), effectiveness (M = 5.86)) and ‘food availability' (N = 7; urgency (M = 6.29) changeability (M = 3.29), effectiveness (M = 6.29)). The prioritized determinants indicate that adolescents should be provided more supportive social and physical environments that promote healthy and sustainable dietary behaviors, taking into account their growing autonomy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107196
JournalAppetite
Volume194
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2024

Keywords

  • Adolescents
  • Determinants
  • Dietary behaviors
  • Expert panel
  • Mixed-methods study
  • Socioecological model

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