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      Social Norms Influencing the Local Food Environment as Perceived by Residents and Food Traders: The Heart Healthy Hoods Project

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          Abstract

          Exploring subjective elements of the food environment remains key to understand why and how residents purchase food. Our aim was to explore and describe the social norms relating to the local food environment and food purchasing behaviors, as perceived by residents and food traders in Madrid, Spain. This qualitative study took place in a middle socioeconomic status neighborhood of Madrid between January 2015 and May 2016. We conducted 35 semi-structured interviews. We used stratified purposive sampling to recruit residents, neighborhood workers ( N = 20) and food traders ( N = 15) representing different levels of involvement with food purchasing behaviors. We analyzed these data using an interpretative phenomenological analysis approach. Participants highlighted social aspects of the food environment in relation to food purchasing behaviors. First, interpersonal and relational food environment elements were emphasized, including trust and tradition. Participants also identified generational demographic trends in relation to changes in the way residents purchased food: the new pace of life and the lack of time to buy fresh food and to cook at home. All these elements were influenced by the economic crisis. Food environment interventions aiming to improve food purchasing behaviors and residents’ diets should consider intermediate social aspects of the food environment like trust and tradition and the fast pace of life of younger generations.

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          Diversity in the determinants of food choice: A psychological perspective

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            Social norms and their influence on eating behaviours.

            Social norms are implicit codes of conduct that provide a guide to appropriate action. There is ample evidence that social norms about eating have a powerful effect on both food choice and amounts consumed. This review explores the reasons why people follow social eating norms and the factors that moderate norm following. It is proposed that eating norms are followed because they provide information about safe foods and facilitate food sharing. Norms are a powerful influence on behaviour because following (or not following) norms is associated with social judgements. Norm following is more likely when there is uncertainty about what constitutes correct behaviour and when there is greater shared identity with the norm referent group. Social norms may affect food choice and intake by altering self-perceptions and/or by altering the sensory/hedonic evaluation of foods. The same neural systems that mediate the rewarding effects of food itself are likely to reinforce the following of eating norms.
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              Effectiveness of subsidies in promoting healthy food purchases and consumption: a review of field experiments.

              Ruopeng An (2013)
              To systematically review evidence from field interventions on the effectiveness of monetary subsidies in promoting healthier food purchases and consumption. Keyword and reference searches were conducted in five electronic databases: Cochrane Library, EconLit, MEDLINE, PsycINFO and Web of Science. Studies were included based on the following criteria: (i) intervention: field experiments; (ii) population: adolescents 12–17 years old or adults 18 years and older; (iii) design: randomized controlled trials, cohort studies or pre–post studies; (iv) subsidy: price discounts or vouchers for healthier foods; (v) outcome: food purchases or consumption; (vi) period: 1990–2012; and (vii) language: English. Twenty-four articles on twenty distinct experiments were included with study quality assessed using predefined methodological criteria. Interventions were conducted in seven countries: the USA (n 14), Canada (n 1), France (n 1), Germany (n 1), Netherlands (n 1), South Africa (n 1) and the UK (n 1). Subsidies applied to different types of foods such as fruits, vegetables and low-fat snacks sold in supermarkets, cafeterias, vending machines, farmers’ markets or restaurants. Interventions enrolled various population subgroups such as school/ university students, metropolitan transit workers and low-income women. All but one study found subsidies on healthier foods to significantly increase the purchase and consumption of promoted products. Study limitations include small and convenience samples, short intervention and follow-up duration, and lack of cost-effectiveness and overall diet assessment. Subsidizing healthier foods tends to be effective in modifying dietary behaviour. Future studies should examine its long-term effectiveness and cost-effectiveness at the population level and its impact on overall diet intake.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Int J Environ Res Public Health
                Int J Environ Res Public Health
                ijerph
                International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
                MDPI
                1661-7827
                1660-4601
                11 February 2019
                February 2019
                : 16
                : 3
                : 502
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Surgery and Medical and Social Sciences Department, School of Medicine, University of Alcalá, Alcalá de Henares, 28871 Madrid, Spain; manuel.franco@ 123456uah.es
                [2 ]Social and Cardiovascular Epidemiology Research Group, School of Medicine, Universidad de Alcalá, Alcalá de Henares, 28871 Madrid, Spain; jrivera@ 123456usal.es (J.R.); p.conde@ 123456uah.es (P.C.); julia.diez@ 123456uah.es (J.D.)
                [3 ]Sociology and Communication Department, Social Sciences Faculty, Salamanca University, 37008 Salamanca, Spain; magusa@ 123456usal.es
                [4 ]Center for Human Nutrition and Global Obesity Prevention Center (GOPC) at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA; jgittel1@ 123456jhu.edu
                [5 ]Department of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA
                Author notes
                [* ]Correspondence: maria.sandin@ 123456uah.es ; Tel.: +34-91-885-5137
                Author information
                https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5586-1794
                Article
                ijerph-16-00502
                10.3390/ijerph16030502
                6388162
                30754690
                096bd058-7419-420f-bd3d-f012d2a3fc04
                © 2019 by the authors.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

                History
                : 14 December 2018
                : 06 February 2019
                Categories
                Article

                Public health
                food environment,food choice,qualitative methodology,neighborhoods
                Public health
                food environment, food choice, qualitative methodology, neighborhoods

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