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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(3), 502; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16030502

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

1
Surgery and Medical and Social Sciences Department, School of Medicine, University of Alcalá, Alcalá de Henares, 28871 Madrid, Spain
2
Social and Cardiovascular Epidemiology Research Group, School of Medicine, Universidad de Alcalá, Alcalá de Henares, 28871 Madrid, Spain
3
Sociology and Communication Department, Social Sciences Faculty, Salamanca University, 37008 Salamanca, Spain
4
Center for Human Nutrition and Global Obesity Prevention Center (GOPC) at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA
5
Department of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 14 December 2018 / Revised: 5 February 2019 / Accepted: 6 February 2019 / Published: 11 February 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Influences on Food Behaviour)
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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. View Full-Text
Keywords: food environment; food choice; qualitative methodology; neighborhoods food environment; food choice; qualitative methodology; neighborhoods
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Sandín Vázquez, M.; Rivera, J.; Conde, P.; Gutiérrez, M.; Díez, J.; Gittelsohn, J.; Franco, M. Social Norms Influencing the Local Food Environment as Perceived by Residents and Food Traders: The Heart Healthy Hoods Project. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 502.

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