Department of Management

Consumer accounts of favourable dietary behaviour change and comparison with official dietary guidelines

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  • Gastón Ares, Universidad de la República, Uruguay
  • Jessica Aschemann-Witzel
  • Leticia Vidal, Universidad de la República, Uruguay
  • Leandro Machín, Universidad de la República, Uruguay
  • Ximena Moratorio, Ministerio de Salud Pública, Uruguay
  • Elisa Bandeira, Ministerio de Salud Pública, Uruguay
  • María Rosa Curutchet, Instituto Nacional de Alimentación, Uruguay
  • Isabel Bove, Ministerio de Salud Pública, Uruguay
  • Ana Giménez, Universidad de la República, Uruguay

Objective The current study aimed to assess Uruguayan consumers' accounts of their own need to change their dietary patterns, their intended changes and the barriers related to doing so, and to compare the intentions and barriers with the recommendations of the national dietary guidelines. Design An online survey with 2381 Uruguayan employed adults, aged between 18 and 65 years, 65 % females, was conducted. Participants had to answer two open-ended questions related to changes they could make in the foods they eat and/or the way in which they eat to improve the quality of their diet and the reasons why they had not implemented those changes yet. Content analysis using inductive coding by two researchers was used to analyse the responses. Results Consumers mainly intended to change consumption of types of foods, particularly eating more fruits, vegetables and legumes and consuming less flour, but also intended to alter their eating patterns. Lack of time and the fact that healthy foods are perceived as being more expensive than unhealthy foods were major barriers to behaviour change. Some of the recommendations of the dietary guidelines, particularly those related to enjoying cooking and meals and engaging in it as a social activity, were not represented in consumer accounts. Conclusions Accompanying policies to the dietary guidelines need to underline the importance of changes in dietary patterns, including greater enjoyment and sharing food preparation and meals in the company with others, address misconceptions about flour, and provide concrete, consumer-derived recommendations on how to enact the guidelines.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPublic Health Nutrition
Pages (from-to)1952-1960
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2018

    Research areas

  • Dietary change, Dietary guidelines, Eating patterns, Qualitative research

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