What should primary health care practitioners know about factors influencing young people's food choices?

Louise Holmberg, John Coveney, Julie Henderson, Samantha Meyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Background: To identify factors that determine the nature and extent of young consumers trust in food; sources of information which influence young consumer food choices; and how trust impacts on young people's food choices. Method: In-depth qualitative research interviews were conducted with young women and men, who are the primary food purchasers in their household (n=8) Results: Food choices of young adults were generally determined by cost and convenience. The overall perception was that Australian food regulation was effective and therefore, food safety need not be questioned. Health including long term health, although considered, was not central in food choice behaviour. Trustworthy nutrition information sources included family and friends. While food labels were used they were considered scientific and complex. The media and the food industry were deemed to be untrustworthy information sources. Conclusion: Cost and convenience were major determinants of food choice in this group of young people who generally lacked a reflexive capacity with regards to food safety and health. A failure to prioritise health raises questions regarding the engagement of young people in public health initiatives, and should be of interest to primary health care practitioners. These data suggest that general practitioners should be aware that cost and convenience may take priority over health issues for young people. Further research is required to confirm the findings of this small study, with future studies aiming to include young people from varying socio-demographic backgrounds in order to gain a more comprehensive view of young people's trust in food.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)259-266
Number of pages8
JournalAustralasian Medical Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2010


  • Food choice
  • Qualitative research
  • Trust
  • Young people


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