Competing food consumption discourses and proper gendered behaviour among over 50s: are you really what you eat?

Daniel Terry, Lisa Bourke, Kristen Glenister, Kaye Ervin
2018 unpublished
The national narratives about proper food consumption and its relationship to health and wellbeing has been articulated in many Australian public health campaigns. These shape awareness, knowledge and behaviours as well as reporting on food consumption. This paper reports on the findings of a large-scale community health survey, conducted in four Victorian regional areas, related to the self-reported eating practices of respondents aged 50 years and over. It was found that women were more
more » ... men were more likely to report trying to eat a diet consistent with public health messages than men. Overall, however there was strong agreement amongst respondents that they tried to eat a healthy diet. These findings are contextualised within broader societal discourses, including the Australian national narrative about food consumption, proper gendered behaviour, good, moral, responsible citizenship, and the competing social meanings attached to food and food consumption. It is argued that understanding the social circumstances in which people report their dietary behaviours is essential to understanding why behavioural change is such a complex goal for public health and health promotion.