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Sociocultural Influences on Dietary Practices and Physical Activity Behaviors of Rural Adolescents—A Qualitative Exploration

Department of Women’s and Children’s Health, Uppsala University, SE-751 85 Uppsala, Sweden
International Center for Diarrheal Disease Research, Bangladesh (ICDDR,B), Dhaka 1212, Bangladesh
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2019, 11(12), 2916;
Received: 26 September 2019 / Revised: 8 November 2019 / Accepted: 12 November 2019 / Published: 2 December 2019
In the aftermath of nutrition transition and ever-increasing sedentarism, adolescents globally are exposed to negative health consequences. Diverse sociocultural influences play a critical role in their adoption of unhealthy dietary practices and suboptimal physical activity behaviors. Context-specific understandings of how these sociocultural influences shape adolescents’ dietary and physical activity patterns in a rural, resource-limited setting remained elusive. Aiming to address the gap, this qualitative study explored adolescents’ and mothers’ perception of broader sociocultural aspects that sculpt the food choices, eating habits and physical activity behaviors of adolescents in Matlab, Bangladesh. Six digitally-recorded focus group discussions were transcribed verbatim, translated into English and analyzed thematically. Marked taste-driven dietary preference of adolescents and its prioritization within family by the mothers, popularity of street foods, better understanding of the importance of food hygiene and safety contrasting with narrow perception of balance and diversity in diet, peer influence along with deficient school and community food environment, internalization and rigidity of gender norms were found to be exerting major influence. The findings highlighted key targets for community-based nutrition interventions and endorsed thorough consideration of socio-cultural factors in formulating strategies to promote healthful eating and physical activity behaviors among the adolescents.
Keywords: dietary practices; adolescent; physical activity; Bangladesh dietary practices; adolescent; physical activity; Bangladesh
MDPI and ACS Style

Islam, M.R.; Trenholm, J.; Rahman, A.; Pervin, J.; Ekström, E.-C.; Rahman, S.M. Sociocultural Influences on Dietary Practices and Physical Activity Behaviors of Rural Adolescents—A Qualitative Exploration. Nutrients 2019, 11, 2916.

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