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To: (i) understand facilitators and barriers to healthy eating practices and physical activity in younger and older urban adolescent South African boys and girls; and (ii) understand how the views of caregivers interact with, and influence, adolescent behaviours.
Semi-structured focus group discussions (FGD) were conducted in July 2018. Data were analysed using thematic analysis.
Soweto, Johannesburg, South Africa.
Seventy-five participants were stratified into eight FGD as follows: two for young boys and girls (10–12 years); two for older boys and girls (15–17 years); two for caregivers of young adolescents (boys and girls); and two for caregivers of older adolescents (boys and girls).
Unlike their caregivers, adolescents were not motivated to eat healthily and failed to appreciate the need to develop consistent patterns of both healthy eating and physical activity for their long-term health. Although adolescents gained independence with age, they commonly attributed unhealthy food choices to a lack of autonomy and, thereby, to the influence of their caregivers. Adolescents and caregivers perceived their engagement in physical activity according to distinct siloes of recreational and routine activity, respectively. Both similarities and differences in the drivers of healthy eating and physical activity exist in adolescents and caregivers, and should be targeted in future interventions.
Our study identified a complex paradigm of eating practices and physical activity in South African adolescents and their caregivers. We also highlighted the need for a new narrative in addressing the multifaceted and interrelated determinants of adolescent health within urban poor settings.
To explore influences on diet in a group of community-dwelling older adults in the UK.
Data were collected through focus group discussions with older people; discussions were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim and transcripts analysed thematically.
Participants were sampled purposively from the Hertfordshire Cohort Study, focusing on those whose diets had been assessed at two time points: 1998–2001 and 2011.
Ninety-two adults participated (47 % women; 74–83 years) and eleven focus groups were held. A number of age-related factors were identified that were linked to food choices, including lifelong food experiences, retirement, bereavement and medical conditions, as well as environmental factors (such as transport). There appeared to be variability in how individuals responded to these influences, indicating that other underlying factors may mediate the effects of age-related factors on diet. Discussions about ‘keeping going’, being motivated to ‘not give up’, not wanting to be perceived as ‘old’, as well as examples of resilience and coping strategies, suggest the importance of mediating psychological factors. In addition, discussion about social activities and isolation, community spirit and loneliness, indicated the importance of social engagement as an influence on diet.
Interventions to promote healthier diets in older age should take account of underlying psychological and social factors that influence diet, which may mediate the effects of age-related factors.
To test the hypothesis that maternal psychological profiles relate to children’s quality of diet.
Cross-sectional study. Mothers provided information on their health-related psychological factors and aspects of their child’s mealtime environment. Children’s diet quality was assessed using an FFQ from which weekly intakes of foods and a diet Z-score were calculated. A high score described children with a better quality diet. Cluster analysis was performed to assess grouping of mothers based on psychological factors. Mealtime characteristics, describing how often children ate while sitting at a table or in front of the television, their frequency of takeaway food consumption, maternal covert control and food security, and children’s quality of diet were examined, according to mothers’ cluster membership.
Mother–child pairs (n 324) in the Southampton Initiative for Health. Children were aged 2–5 years.
Two main clusters were identified. Mothers in cluster 1 had significantly higher scores for all psychological factors than mothers in cluster 2 (all P<0·001). Clusters were termed ‘more resilient’ and ‘less resilient’, respectively. Children of mothers in the less resilient cluster ate meals sitting at a table less often (P=0·03) and watched more television (P=0·01). These children had significantly poorer-quality diets (β=−0·61, 95 % CI −0·82, −0·40, P≤0·001). This association was attenuated, but remained significant after controlling for confounding factors that included maternal education and home/mealtime characteristics (P=0·006).
The study suggests that mothers should be offered psychological support as part of interventions to improve children’s quality of diet.