Teen Girls’ Perspectives on Their Current Dietary Habits and Food Choices: A Qualitative Study in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
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Rapid socioeconomic development in Saudi Arabia, as a result of oil revenues, has had profound effects on people’s lifestyles, including the transformation of people’s dietary habits. Such dietary transformations, known as the nutrition transition, are common in countries undergoing rapid socioeconomic changes. This transition is significant in Saudi Arabia as the traditional Saudi diet is considered a healthy one. Adoption of the Western diet has had negative health effects on the Saudi population, especially adolescents. As evidenced in many studies, adolescents are the most affected population when it comes to changes in dietary habits and physical activity. Adolescence is a vulnerable stage of life when dietary habits are developed, often lasting into adulthood, and may not be easily changed. In the case of Saudi Arabia, youth or adolescents represent almost 60% of the population; therefore, the eating habits they develop now could have profound consequences for population health in the future. To develop effective health promotion strategies, it is important to understand the sociocultural factors that influence the dietary habits and food choices of Saudi teens. I conducted two semi-structured, open-ended interviews, using photo-elicitation techniques, with 12 Saudi girls, aged 15-16 years. Analysis of the data shows four factors that pulled the participants toward eating home cooked traditional food and five factors that pushed participants away from eating home cooked traditional foods. The research suggests that despite the attractiveness of modern, Western ways of eating for Saudi teen girls, parents still play a key role in encouraging and supporting them to eat healthy food.
URI for this recordhttp://hdl.handle.net/1974/15260
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