We have physiological drivers that make us want to eat. We are wired to crave energy, our cells need it to survive. This was explored through the lens of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. When we meet the physical needs of the body our needs are then driven by psychological and self-efficacy needs. (Part 1)
The role of attitudes, social norms and perceived behavioural control play a big role in what we choose to buy, to cook and to eat with attitude having the strongest correlation with behaviour. This was addressed by applying the Theory of Planed Behaviour to our food choices. (Part II)
Habits and past behaviours are one of the strongest predictors of future behaviour and unless you consciously design the environment to support a change and repeatedly practice the new behaviour, we find it very hard to break away from existing patterns of behaviour. (Part III)
We are a product of our environment!
Ecological Models of Behaviour
Using a model such as Bronfenbrenner’s model, shown here, demonstrates the overlap between the varying environmental contexts the individual exists within and that it’s the combination of each layer that influences behaviour.
The inner circle represents the individual who is surrounded by their immediate environment known as the Microsystem. The Microsystem represents all the interactions the individual has with people in their lives such as family members, peers and school or work colleagues. The following layer, the Mesosystem is the environment in which the microsystem relationships take place in and connects the Microsystem to the Exosystem.
The Exosystem is the broader community the individual resides within but does not necessarily directly interact with such as the industry associations, educational institutions and the political environment. Finally, the outer layer of the model consists of the Macrosystem which represents the cultural norms and societal laws.
Summing it all up
Sallis JF, Owen N, Fischer EB. Health behaviour and health education theory research and practice. 4th ed. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass; c2008. Chapter 20, Ecological models of health behaviour; p. 465-85.
Hardcastle SJ, Thøgersen-Ntoumani C, Chatzisarantis NL. Food Choice and Nutrition: A Social Psychological Perspective. Nutrients. 2015 Oct 21;7:8712-15.