Perceptions on Healthy Eating, Nutrition and Obesity among Select Groups of the Population in Trinidad

Dimple Singh-Ackbarali, Rohanie Maharaj


This paper examined local self-reported perceptions on healthy eating, nutrition and obesity among select groups of the population and how these varied with gender, age, socioeconomic status/professional/educational training, and ethnicity.  97% of participant volunteers believed that what you eat is one of the most important factors for maintaining health, there were a number of attitudinal and perceived environmental barriers to healthy eating and increasing physical activity. Results showed that while 85.8% of participant volunteers declared that they would like to get in better shape 65.8% reported that they are currently trying to improve their weight and 48.3% confessed to having poor or only ok eating habits. Busy schedule, cost of healthy foods and lack of convenience to eat or shop healthy were found to be the main barriers to healthy eating. There are significant differences in these barriers for the different age categories. The lack of motivation to do physical activity, insufficient support from friends, and lack of time to do physical activity were the main barriers to physical activity. The difference between the different age categories were significant for several of the barriers while the difference between males and females was only significant for one barrier. Finally it was found that the perceived barriers to healthy eating and physical activity did not vary by socio-economic status or overweight status. A limitation of this study was that the barriers were not assessed objectively, but rather through self-reports. It can be concluded that more efficient measure to reduce obesity might require a shift away from the traditional focus on individual behavior change towards strategies which deal with the environment in which such behaviors occur. The successful challenge to obesity therefore lies not in interventions at the individual level but in the public policy domain.

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International Journal of Social Science Studies   ISSN 2324-8033 (Print)   ISSN 2324-8041 (Online)

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