Describe Two Explanations of the Origins of Attitudes to Food and Eating Behaviour

Topics: Sociology, Dieting, Behavior Pages: 2 (620 words) Published: January 6, 2012
Describe Two Explanations of the Origins of Attitudes to Food and Eating Behaviour. One explanation of the origins of attitudes towards food and eating behaviour is social learning theory, which emphasises the impact that observing other people can have on our own behaviour. Parents can have a massive effect over their children's eating behaviours for a variety of reasons. The first, and perhaps most obvious reason is that parents purchase and control the foods in their homes, and so the child would have little choice but to eat whatever their parent presented to them. The child would then grow up with this diet, and would 'learn' it. Brown and Ogden reported consistent correlation between parents and their children in terms of snack intake, eating motivations, and body dissatisfaction. Another explanation of the origins of attitudes towards food and eating behaviour are cultural influences. Research has suggested that body dissatisfaction and related eating concerns are more characteristics of white women than black or Asian women. Ball and Kennedy found that for all ethnic groups, the longer the time spent in Australia, the more the women reported attitudes and eating behaviours similar to Australian women, and this is known as the 'acculturation effect'. Other studies have found that social class can have an influence on body dissatisfaction and dieting behaviour, finding that they are more common in higher class individuals. Dornbusch studied 7000 American adolescents and found that higher class females show a greater desire to be thin, and were more likely to diet to achieve this. However other research disputes social learning theories conclusion and suggests that children do not just copy their parents. A study done by Birch and Fisher found that the best predictors of daughters eating behaviours were the mothers dietary restraints and their perception of the risk of the daughters becoming overweight. This disputes the idea that eating behaviour is...
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