Profound understanding of healthy eating beliefs in populations with a low socioeconomic position (SEP) can benefit attempts to improve diet quality in this population, but literature on this subject is fragmented. The purpose of this scoping review was to systematically map healthy eating beliefs and the meaning of food and eating in populations with a low SEP. Systematic search of electronic databases yielded 35 relevant publications that were included in a qualitative synthesis. Populations with a low SEP perceived healthy eating as important, although they expressed various meanings of ‘healthy’ and ‘good’ eating. Lack of time and money posed perceived barriers to healthy eating, as well as social influences, and desired identities that can be expressed by specific foods. Traditions were important influences on food and eating practices. Eating behavior was perceived as one's own responsibility and desirably within one's own control. Parents expressed the role of food to regulate children's (eating) behavior. In conclusion, perceived limited control over what is eaten due to various barriers as described by populations with a low SEP, may also be viewed as competing values. Deeper understanding of reasons and thoughts underlying healthy eating beliefs and what it means to eat ‘well’ is largely lacking in this domain. The findings call for an in-depth exploration of the origin and construction of beliefs regarding ‘healthy’ and ‘good’ eating in populations with a low SEP.
- Healthy eating
- Low socioeconomic position